Saturday, June 6, 2009

How quickly the "free market" turns into fascism

LaRouche PAC's website has presented a transcript of an exchange between Congressman Kucinich and Prof. David Himmelstein of Harvard, head of Physicians for a National Health Plan, about the progress of the health plan which Massachusetts' adopted in 2006. It was the first time I had read about it, and I'm amazed that it ever passed. It's sheer fascism. The following excerpt should convey the gist of it:

Rep. KUCINICH: Now, you mentioned Massachusetts. Massachusetts gets a lot of discussion based on the plan that they have had. People have claimed that the reform is working well. And what — could you give us an assessment of the Massachusetts plan and its relevancy or lack thereof to the moment?

HIMMELSTEIN: Well, I work in the plan. And what we know so far is the costs have been driven up substantially, as we had predicted. Government...

KUCINICH: Why?

HIMMELSTEIN: Because essentially, the private insurance company has been kept in the middle. And the way we're increasing coverage is by buying additional coverage from them on top of the already high costs. And we've added the administrative costs of the insurance exchange, which adds 4 percent to every policy they sell, the "Connecter," on top of the already high administrative costs. And we've had no means of cost containment.

The survey actually shows that, of those directly affected by the reform, more say they've been hurt by it than helped by is because...

KUCINICH: Why?

HIMMELSTEIN: The costs of coverage that you're required to buy are extraordinarily high. We had quite...

KUCINICH: So people are required to buy their coverage. And how much are they required to pay for the coverage?

HIMMELSTEIN: For someone my age, the required coverage would be a $4,800 dollar per person, per year, and that carries a $2,000 deductible. So you lay out $6,800 out-of-pocket before you get a penny of coverage.

KUCINICH: So you're required. What happens if you don't buy it?

HIMMELSTEIN: A $1000 fine. So the...

KUCINICH: Are they fining people? Have they fined people?

HIMMELSTEIN: They are. They fined some people last year. And we have many more coming up with tax season this year.

KUCINICH: What if you can't afford health insurance?

HIMMELSTEIN: There's a standard that says if you're above that standard, it's deemed affordable, you must buy it. You pay the cover — you pay the fine. If you go to a hospital, you pay the fine and you pay a part of the required coverage.


This is insanity. Its purpose is clearly not to foster the general welfare, but to essentially rob us at gunpoint "for our own good" and then see how much of it can be funneled into the financial organizations which own the HMOs.