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Health Care & Environment
11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
11.12 This Land is Your Land: The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Interior department sued for ‘secretive process’ in at-risk species assessment [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government 'jumped the gun' and orders halt [behaving ignorantly again...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.16 As 'Green New Deal' Demand Grows, Democrats Have Choice: Confront and Defeat Fossil Fuel Industry or Take Credit for 'Doomed' Planet [Two choices: Save life-on-Earth or help Republicans let it die?]
11.15 Democrats Won Big. Can They Go Bold, Too? [it's about suppressing the influence and leadership by Republican-like Democrats who counsel 'íncremental' (no) change, such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Shumer and Joe Biden]
11.15 Pentagon Officials Forced to Make Fewer Public Appearances to Avoid Provoking Trump [...by revealing Trump's huuuge ignorance]
11.15 REPUBLICANS USED A BILL ABOUT WOLVES TO AVOID A VOTE ON YEMEN WAR [if there are 'defense industry' profits to be made—including congress-critter insider-trading—and political 'donations' to be had, we mustn't stop killing innocent civilians!]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]
11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
International & Futurism
11.15 Cuba to pull doctors out of Brazil after President-elect Bolsonaro comments [terms must be negotiated for fairness to Cuba's health professionals without disruption of healthcare for Brazil's poor]
11.14 'Appalling' Khashoggi audio shocked Saudi intelligence – Erdogan [Exposing a psychopath?]
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.
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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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