On SCOTUS and the Mandate Decision (or not).
(From They Live – the greatest B-movie ever)
I am sure that many people on the internet will now elevate themselves to the status of constitutional lawyer and make fast claims as to the merits of this landmark case. However, I will not. I am not a lawyer nor do I pretend to be one. I do try to be up on my civics and I admit that it does seem unprecedented to have the courts agree with the government that all citizens must fork over to corporations but I have not read case-law or precedent for this decision - I have not even read the decision itself. I am only assuming that it is the changing of times rather than a decision based on the intent of our Founding Fathers and their codified constitution (which probably should be scrapped by now)… it is all up to interpretation after all, and this is the post-Citizen’s United / post-TARP era, so who am I to question corporate welfare? I mean, already the majority of tax receipts go to build weapons via private and publicly traded corporations – also, we are on our way to privatizing schools and prisons. I can hardly wait for the fallout from all that craziness. We might was well put the two in the same building, germinate prepubescent drug war participants with prescriptions stimulants to treat non-diagnoses – that way we can sink tax dollars into private health care, charter schools and the prison–industrial complex all at the same time – even better, add a police / military recruiting center so those that actually graduate can come back into the system as law enforcement, drone operators or cracked-out soldiers for cannon fodder in future Imperial Wars. (see the films Girl From Monday and Stingray Sam if you have not, both satirize our prison-state similarly). That said I am not surprised that our government and courts would force citizens to be consumers rather than provide to them what should be a benefit. I am rambling… sorry. What I am trying to say is that I could not care less about the issue of constitutionality or how this decision landed; it is the very fact that the decision had to be made to begin with that is my concern.
I find it funny is that this “Health Care Reform” is a partisan issue as it is a massive corporate welfare scheme that both parties seem to embrace in their own terms. It is also curious that people have such short memories: It was Bob Dole with Liz Fowler (she’s the former WellPoint CEO and Health Insurance Industry leader that wrote the current bill) that were together working on the same plan back in 1992 – and eerily very similar to Romneycare in Massachusetts. It only happened now because the insurance companies were looking for the hat-trick of House, Senate and Executive to grease it through. Democrats happened to have two good years to work on this and it happened. AS THE INDUSTRY WANTED. In a shark-like feeding frenzy DNC members jump in to get a few years of campaign financing and promos from the insurance industry PACs and lobbyist and the Republicans lose out. It could have easily been the other way around if the GOP was in charge – except with the Republican plan would try to privatize Medicare along with this welfare to the insurance industry all while the Democrats opposing and pretending to attempt to tack on a public option to the RNC plan. After all, it was Obama, in Greenwich, CT addressing some of the wealthiest people in the country who actually laughed and mocked a person that asked him about his promise of a public option. If you look through Obama’s campaign trail speeches while he was in a race against Hillary the words “public option” came from his mouth more than 1,000 times. It was this that was partly responsible for is being mislabeled a “socialist” by the teabaggers. Of course, Democrats were not listening to his promises because they were talking about his style, or the fact that he was black, or the fact that he was not a Republican, or the fact that he was not a Clinton. (FYI: I originally had remorse not voting for Obama because of the history making possibility of a black president but I could not let myself vote for a Republocrat).
Of course, EVERYONE should have access to the healthcare that they need… and there are indeed small victories in HCR, but in the end REFORM should be a single payer plan that competes with private insurance. For three decades every accounting office (GAO, CBO) from either RNC/DNC administration that did a study showed that a full socialized plan would save everyone money. Cutting profit out and the huge pool of a public plan would soon put private insurance out of business. The last result that I saw published was a potential savings of $60 billion for health care consumers (No surprise that it would not float. With a total of 1200 different insurance plans in the country $60 billion would be around the annual salary of all board members of all insurance providers). But no, a national – socialized – single payer plan is not a possibility and now we can only anticipate cost going up and employers skimping on their employee benefits with high deductible or health savings account plans. Also, what could be more “pro-business” than lifting the health care responsibility from the employer?
If anything has driven health care costs up in the past it is insurance… In my own experience working in a clinical laboratory for four years and a NICU for three, it was often said that insurance companies were practicing medicine by deciding what they would cover and how much they would reimburse on claims. For example, symptoms could indicate two different diagnoses, doctor orders tests – one test rules out one diagnosis, and one test proves another. Patient is then assigned an ICD-9 code to indicate a specific diagnosis. Insurance only funds claims for the tests that are related to that result, we keep billing them, we bill the patient, we bill the insurance, we bill the patient, and then we have a pileup of unpaid receipts so we then hire more staff with the sole job description of chasing insurance payments. And what happened after insurance companies paid only 80% of claims plus the costs of addition staff? Prices went up for everyone. Non-insured and their non-payment resulting in free care also drove costs up, but that would be cured by a Medicare for all. Anecdotal, for sure, but that really was the way it worked at three different places in my experience.
There are, of course, consequences to labor. If you were a business that employed non-skilled workers and in this job market where the unemployed are taking jobs where there attraction of benefits are secondary to a regular income and you had the option of paying a $2000 fine per employee, or $10,000 in health insurance premiums for each employee what would you do? You might dump workers guilt free into government subsidized insurance exchanges. These once employer-covered people then would be forced to buy from an exchange that is less comprehensive and more costly than what the employer ran away from. Companies that don’t follow suit will be at a competitive disadvantage. …and even since before the Health Care Reform employers were continually hiring more part-time staff or scrimping on health care by paying an absolute minimum towards the employee plans and then going with the cheapest possible high-deductible or health savings account type coverage. Increasingly over the past few decades there has also been more and more outsourcing and layoffs. This will still continue; only now they will blame it on health care costs the same way they cite the minimum wage, Social Security, the abolition of slavery etc. etc. for the need to be “competitive”.
Lastly, the biggest fear that opponents have to socialized healthcare (and to welfare, Medicare, EBT, WIC, etc) is that it would be rife with corruption… Absurd because I cannot think of anything more potentially corrupt than the thought of politicians making sweet deals with corporations like we see here with Health Care Reform (Fowlercare).
For some reason I tied in three films above… so here is another one, this time unrelated to Democrats and Republicans (well, there is a bunch of sheep in it). The Colour of Pomegranates is one Netflix streaming. You should check it out: