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Health Care & Environment
06.19 Engineers boost output of solar desalination system by 50% [Trump fires scientist. It would be far better to enable their good work.]
06.19 We’ll Never Solve Immigration If We Don’t Solve Climate Change [Why is our President so willfully stupid?]
06.18 The Worst Patients in the World [Is THIS the dumbest thing we can do? Then let's do it!]
06.18 Navy Contaminates Local Groundwater and Sewer System in Maryland [Is THIS the dumbest thing we can do? Then let's do it!]
06.18 Trump's order to trim science advisory panels sparks outrage [Is THIS the dumbest thing we can do? Then let's do it!]
06.17 Hopes for climate progress falter with coal still king across Asia [Governments must subsidize very rapid installation of renewable energy to displace all fossil energy—aka DEATH ENERGY—power plants that must be made illegal ASAP]
06.17 Oil companies double down on plastics as public outcry grows [Obscene!]
06.15 So much plastic is being made that "recycling has no impact" [Non-recyclable plastic must be made illegal to manufacture, use]
06.15 We must transform our lives and values to save this burning planet [Increased ice melt in polar latitudes has been disguising reality in the middle latitudes. This effect will soon be replaced by record heat as ice volume and seasonal melting increasingly declines.]
06.15 This all-male council in Texas just voted to ban abortion [1:59 video; Bad assumptions foment ignorant actions...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
06.19 America has never gone this long without hiking the federal minimum wage [The poor would spend every penny and help the economy and decrease health costs. Only dummies don't understand the costly effects of penury.]
06.19 When migrants arrived in droves, this poor New Mexico city opened its arms [A good example for us all: This is the way we must respond to human suffering]
06.18 It's A Horrible Idea To Privatize The Tennessee Valley Authority And Other Public Energy Assets [Is THIS the dumbest thing we can do? Then let's do it!]
06.18 Tobacco's 'Special Friend': What Internal Documents Say About Mitch McConnell [His immorality is in complete control]
06.17 Climate change leadership would create a new 'American century' [We must incentivize the strategic good, again, before it's too late.]
06.17 Drug Cop Worth $400 Million After Bets on Brooklyn Real Estate [A better role-model than Trump or Kushner!]
06.15 White House physicist sought aid of rightwing thinktank to challenge climate science [When your President is a quack he naturally surrounds himself with sycophants]
06.18 As promised, Trump slashes aid to Central America over migrants [Is THIS the cruelest thing we can do? Then let's do it!]
06.18 ‘The Saudis couldn’t do it without us’: the UK’s true role in Yemen’s deadly war [If you act psychopathic you are psychopathic; 3:40 Video: Where have all the flowers (and morals and young men) gone, long time passing, sung by Marlene Dietreich]
06.17 'Blatant Theft': Netanyahu Unveils Illegal Settlement Named 'Trump Heights' in Occupied Syrian Territory [Great deal: the U.S. gives Israel $Billions every year, and they name an illegal settlement—to be built on Palestinian land—after Trump]
Economics & Corrupt Capitalism
06.15 'Eye-Popping': Analysis Shows Top 1% Gained $21 Trillion in Wealth Since 1989 While Bottom Half Lost $900 Billion [More equality or bring back the guillotines!]
International & Futurism
06.19 Trump Enabled an ‘Act of Organized Crime’ in Guatemala [Trump and other mafia-dons cause refugees and migrants as much as global warming]
06.19 Madrid’s new rightwing council suspends low-emissions zone [“Stupid is as stupid does.” –Forrest Gump]
06.19 Donald Trump’s reckless Iran policy casts doubt on the US as global leader [America's reputation has plummeted more speedily since Trump's dubious election, with professionals willfully replaced with less competent appointees or left unfilled in many federal government agencies]
06.18 'If This Is True, They Are Even Bigger Lunatics Than We Realized': UN Officials Reportedly Believe Trump Planning 'Massive' Bombing Campaign in Iran [Never underestimate the stupidity of the Trump Administration]
06.18 Iran will not wage war against any nation, says Hassan Rouhani [Economic sanctions are cruel punishment to innocent civilians causing hate for generations. We will reap what Trump sows.]
06.17 Saudi Arabia May Execute Teenager for His Protests — Including When He Was 10 [America's “best ally” is psychopathically insane]
06.17 Why Venezuela Is the Vietnam of Our Time [Powerful, clear writing!]
With Friends Like These: Wal-Mart, Health ‘Reform’ and Obama’s ‘Public Option’
Thursday, 9 July 2009
The plan being promoted by President Obama and the Democrats in Congress is not progressive, enriches the health care industry, leaves millions of people uninsured, and will cost taxpayers more than they are paying now, which is already double what Canada, Japan and European countries pay for better care.
All you need to really know about the Obama health “reform” initiative is that it is being supported by retail giant Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart, a corporation that was built on the philosophy of treating workers like dirt (the company famously locks its employees inside its buildings at night, forces workers who have checked out of their shifts to continue to serve customers, off the clock, if they are asked for help on their way out of the store, has bitterly resisted offering any health benefits, and has one of the worst records of labor law violations of any company in the country), is now signing on as an endorser of the Obama health reform effort, saying:
Why would a company like Wal-Mart, with its Paleolithic attitude towards its own workers, be supporting a plan that, at least ostensibly, claims to be trying to provide health coverage for the working poor?
There are several answers. First of all, from a competitive point of view, Wal-Mart probably figures that if there is an employer mandate to provide health benefits, with a hefty fine for those that refuse to comply, the company is in a better position to provide a minimal plan than many of its competitors, like K-Mart or Target. Second, the company’s executives may figure that the so-called “public option” will offer it a cheaper alternative, subsidized by the taxpayer, than existing private insurance plans. This is one valid point of attack from the right on the Obama plan: that a government-run alternative to private insurance would end up being a dumping ground for companies that didn’t want to pay for private insurance coverage plans for their workers.
Finally, Wal-Mart probably figures that the Obama plan is the best way to avoid a move to a single-payer system ala Canada’s, which inevitably would be heavily financed by corporate taxes.
There are few giant corporations in America that are worse than Wal-Mart when it comes to employee relations and treatment of workers, so when you see a company like that coming out in support of any government program—particularly one that is as critically important to the lives of ordinary working people as health care—you should immediately question the value and the intent of that plan.
The same point can be made about the so called “savings” being offered by various segments of the medical-industrial complex in deals being struck with and touted by the White House (the pharmaceutical industry has promised to cut drug costs to the government and the public by $80 billion over 10 years, while the hospital industry has agreed to offer savings of another $150 billion over the same period). While these so-called savings are mostly bogus sleight-of-hands (for example, much of the “savings” being offered by the hospital industry consists of reduced government compensation for the treatment of the uninsured in emergency rooms, but of course, if the Obama plan is passed, and insurance coverage is offered to most Americans, there would be far fewer uninsured patients in hospitals anyway), the real reason these big industry sectors are coming on board the Obama plan is that they see it as a way to avoid, or push off to the future, a single-payer system that would dictate all their fees and prices.
The point is, if the very groups that have created the massively expensive and exclusionary health care system that we have today in America, and that for years have bitterly resisted any efforts to seriously reform it and to make it open to all, regardless of income or medical condition, are suddenly endorsing a plan that purports to be a real, progressive reform, we have to question the premise: that the reform really is real or progressive.
And the plan being promoted by President Obama and by the Democrats in Congress is not real or progressive. It is a plan that will further enrich the health care industry, that will not stop the continuing rise in health care costs, that will still leave millions of people without access to quality medical care, and that will end up costing taxpayers more than they are already paying.
The proof is the support for this plan being offered by the likes of Wal-Mart and the big medical industry players.
About the author: Philadelphia journalist Dave Lindorff is a 34-year veteran, an award-winning journalist, a former New York Times contributor, a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, a two-time Journalism Fulbright Scholar, and the co-author, with Barbara Olshansky, of a well-regarded book on impeachment, The Case for Impeachment. His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net.
Copyright © 2009 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on July 9, 2009.
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