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Insurance Monopoly Made Law--This and 5 Other Complaints About the Health Bill

Insurance Monopoly Made Law--This and 5 Other Complaints About the Health Bill

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Published by William J Greenberg
1.This Bill Will Enshrine in Law the Monopolistic Powers of the Private Health Insurance Industry (Congressman Eric Massa)
2. This Bill Fails to Control Costs
3. This Bill Obliterates Women's Fundamental Right to Choose (From the National Organization for Women)
4. This Bill Embraces Religious-Right Extremes. (From Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards)
5. This Bill Worries About the Health of Wall Street, Not America. (Congressman Dennis Kucinich)
1.This Bill Will Enshrine in Law the Monopolistic Powers of the Private Health Insurance Industry (Congressman Eric Massa)
2. This Bill Fails to Control Costs
3. This Bill Obliterates Women's Fundamental Right to Choose (From the National Organization for Women)
4. This Bill Embraces Religious-Right Extremes. (From Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards)
5. This Bill Worries About the Health of Wall Street, Not America. (Congressman Dennis Kucinich)

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Published by: William J Greenberg on Nov 15, 2009
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09/21/2010

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Do We Really Want to Enshrine Insurance Monopolyinto Law? This and 5 Other Complaints About theHealth Bill
By John Nichols, The NationPosted on November 9, 2009, Printed on November 13, 2009http://www.alternet.org/story/143842/
The Affordable Health Care for America Act was approved by the U.S. House Saturdaynight with overwhelming support from progressive Democrats who serve in the chamber and from a president who was nominated and elected with the enthusiastic support of  progressive voters.But that does not mean that informed and engaged progressives are entirely enthusiasticabout the measure.In fact, some are openly and explicitly opposed to it -- among them former CongressionalProgressive Caucus chair Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and CPC member Eric Massa, D- New York, both of whom broke with the majority of their fellow Democrats to vote "no"when the House approved the measure by a narrow 220-215 vote Saturday.How can this be?Isn't this a fight between Democrats and Republicans? Between reforming liberals andtea-party conservatives?How can there possible be any subtlety or nuance to this debate?Well, of course, the debate over this 1,900-page behemoth of a bill
is
more complicatedthan the easy spin of political insiders -- and media cheering sections -- would haveAmericans believe.Key interest groups, such as the National Organization for Women, and key congressmenwho have been long-term supporters of reform, such as single-payer backers Massa andKucinich, argue that the bill is not the cure for what ails the U.S. health care system.Indeed, they suggest, the bill as it is currently constructed could make a bad situationworse.Many sincere progressives in the House, and outside of it, chose to back the bill as the best that could be gotten. Others supported it on the theory that flaws could be fixed inthe Senate and in the reconciliation of the House and Senate bills.But those repairs will only be made if activists are conscious of what ails this bill.
 
For that reason, even supporters of the House legislation would be wise to consider thecriticisms of it by groups that advocate for the rights of women, patient advocates, unionsand some of the most progressive members of the House.Here are six smart progressive complaints about the House bill:1. FROMCONGRESSMAN ERIC MASSA:"This Bill Will Enshrine in Law theMonopolistic Powers of the Private Health Insurance Industry"At the highest level, this bill will enshrine in law the monopolistic powers of the privatehealth insurance industry, period. There's really no other way to look at it. I believe the private health insurance industry is part of the problem.This bill also, I believe, fails to address the fundamental question before the American people, and that is how do we control the costs of health care. It does not addressinterstate portability, as Medicare does. It does not address real medical malpracticeinsurance reform. It does not address the incredible waste and fraud that are currently inthe system.2. FROMTHE CALIFORNIA NURSES ASSOCIATION:This Bill Fails to ControlCostsWhile the current bills will provide limited assistance for some, the inconvenient truth isthey fall far short in effective controls on skyrocketing insurance, pharmaceutical andhospital costs, do little to stop insurance companies from denying needed medical carerecommended by doctors, and provide little relief for Americans with employer-sponsored insurance worried about health security for themselves and their families.3. FROMTHE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN:"This Bill ObliteratesWomen's Fundamental Right to Choose"The House of Representatives has dealt the worst blow to women's fundamental right toself-determination in order to buy a few votes for reform of the profit-driven healthinsurance industry. We must protect the rights we fought for in Roe v. Wade. We cannotand will not support a health care bill that strips millions of women of their existingaccess to abortion.Birth control and abortion are integral aspects of women's health care needs. Health carereform should not be a vehicle to obliterate a woman's fundamental right to choose.The Stupak Amendment (to the House bill, which was approved and attached onSaturday) goes far beyond the abusive Hyde Amendment, which has denied federalfunding of abortion since 1976. The Stupak Amendment, if incorporated into the finalversion of health insurance reform legislation, will:
 
• Prevent women receiving tax subsidies from using their own money to purchase privateinsurance that covers abortion;• Prevent women participating in the public health insurance exchange, administered by private insurance companies, from using 100 percent of their own money to purchase private insurance that covers abortion;• Prevent low-income women from accessing abortion entirely, in many cases. NOW calls on the Senate to pass a health care bill that respects women's constitutionally protected right to abortion and calls on President Obama to refuse to sign any health care bill that restricts women's access to affordable, quality reproductive health care.4. FROMPLANNED PARENTHOOD'S CECILE RICHARDS: This Bill Embraces Religious-Right ExtremesIt is extremely unfortunate that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops andanti-choice opponents were able to hijack the health care reform bill in their dedicatedattempt to ban all legal abortion In the United States.Most telling is the fact that the vast majority of members of the House who supported theStupak/Pitts amendment in today's vote do not support HR 3962, revealing their truemotive, which is to kill the health care reform bill.These single-issue advocates simply used health care reform to advance their extreme,ideological agenda at the expense of tens of millions of women.5. FROMCONGRESSMAN DENNIS KUCINICH,: This Bill Worries About the Healthof Wall Street, Not AmericaWe have been led to believe that we must make our health care choices only within thecurrent structure of a predatory, for-profit insurance system which makes money not providing health care. We cannot fault the insurance companies for being what they are.But we can fault legislation in which the government incentivizes the perpetuation,indeed the strengthening, of the for-profit health insurance industry, the very source of the problem. When health insurance companies deny care or raise premiums, co-pays anddeductibles they are simply trying to make a profit. That is our system.Clearly, the insurance companies are the problem, not the solution. They are driving upthe cost of health care. Because their massive bureaucracy avoids paying bills soeffectively, they force hospitals and doctors to hire their own bureaucracy to fight theinsurance companies to avoid getting stuck with an unfair share of the bills. The result isthat since 1970, the number of physicians has increased by less than 200% while thenumber of administrators has increased by 3000 percent. It is no wonder that 31 cents of every health care dollar goes to administrative costs, not toward providing care. Even

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