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02.14 Exposure to Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-Analysis and Supporting Evidence [If its killing us, make it illegal]
02.14 To avoid environmental catastrophe, everything must change [Consider why this headline is laughable or confusing to many, if not most, Americans...]02.13 Study Shows Toxic Pesticide Levels in Families Dropped by 60% After One-Week Organic Diet [2:10 video; Produce and canned vegetables laced with toxic chemicals—from fertilizers and herbicides, too—must be quickly phased out to use safe organic alternatives]
02.11 'People Shouldn't Be Going Bankrupt and Dying': Nationwide Week of Action Aims to Build Mass Movement Behind Medicare for All [Corporate control of government and media must be limited to allow efficient programs for the public good]
02.09 The potato solution: how the Guardian switched to biodegradable packaging [Non-recyclable products should be illegal]
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02.15 Samantha Bee: Fox News 'soiling themselves over the Green New Deal' [video clips from Samantha Bee, Seth Meyers and Stephen Colbert]
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02.15 Jayapal Says Medicare for All Bill Coming in Two Weeks as Expert Calls Plan 'Astonishingly Strong' [Corporate control of government and media must be limited to allow efficient programs for the public good]
02.14 Pentagon Fears Climate Crisis, w/ Billions in Damage to US Bases & Societal Upheaval [In maniacally twisted capitalist countries inconvenient truths are ignored or harshly ridiculed, and Trump's stupid Wall obsession dominates the news instead.]
02.13 'We Will Be That Lantern on the Shore': Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley Rally With TPS Holders Outside Trump White House [Empathy and fairness are scarce when your President is a psychopath]
Economics & Corrupting-Capitalism
02.13 The Green New Deal offers radical environmental and economic change [For the survival of life on earth, capitalism must be effectively regulated or banned]
02.12 Climate and economic risks 'threaten 2008-style systemic collapse' [Willfull ignorance of Trump, Republicans, corporate-media and corporate-Democrats is steadfast, if not worsening]
02.11 Trump offers socialism for the rich, capitalism for everyone else [and the poor will die out like the insects]
International & Futurism
02.15 Who Is Really A Socialist? [Who is really a Republican, etc.?]
02.14 House passes bill to end US support for Saudi war in Yemen [Congress does something good again!]
02.14 Millions Flowed From Venezuelan Oil Firm to Small Bulgarian Bank [Transactions like Manafort performed for Trump. Which Venezuelan political leader is likely behind this—Maduro or Trump-supported Guaidó?]
AN INDUSTRY READY TO GO OUT OF BUSINESS:
Health Insurers Threaten Rate Hikes
Originally published in ConsortiumNews.com earlier today, 9 October 2009
Though looking forward to millions of new customers who would be compelled by the U.S. government to buy health insurance, the insurance industry is threatening to raise premiums across the board if more of its demands are not met.
Industry representatives put Congress and the Obama administration on notice that if health-reform legislation doesn’t send even more new customers the industry’s way or if a windfall profits tax is included, the industry would hit businesses, individuals and the government with higher premiums, effectively defeating one of the initiative’s top goals, reining in ever-rising costs.
The industry’s chief complaint, which was raised in connection with an already-industry-friendly bill cobbled together by Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus, is that the legislation would push 29 million more Americans into the insurance market, but that they might be the sickest and thus costliest people.
The industry wants more of the estimated 25 million still uninsured – especially healthy, young people – to be compelled to buy policies, too. Without more healthy customers added to the mix, the industry says it will have no choice but to raise rates.
"The consequences of this would be an upward spiral; rate shock to everyone who stays in," Karen Ignagni, president of the industry group America's Health Insurance Plans, told the Washington Post. "This legislation will fail the test of affordability for individuals." [Washington Post, Oct. 9, 2009]
The industry’s warning comes after its lobbyists won an important victory in the Senate Finance Committee, defeating amendments that would have added a public option, a government-run program that would compete with private insurers to hold down costs.
Private insurers also bristled at an idea floated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a windfall profits tax on extra money the industry might make from the influx of millions of new customers, many qualifying for government subsidies.
Robert E. Zirkelbach, a spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, told the New York Times that a tax on windfall profits “would lead to higher premiums for families and businesses” because the added expense would be passed through to customers. [NYT, Oct. 9, 2009]
However, it was not clear why insurers would worry about a windfall profits tax if they were also concerned that new customers would be a financial burden.
Still, by the industry throwing its weight around with threats of higher premiums, it may be risking a backlash from Congress, which could still turn to the public option as the only feasible method for constraining ever-rising health insurance costs.
The industry fears the public option because it could piggyback on the existing Medicare bureaucracy and thus save substantial money, which the insurance industry spends on administrative expenses, executive pay and profits.
Those costs eat up 20 percent or more of an average dollar that businesses and individuals spend on health insurance premiums, compared to about 2 percent for Medicare.
The latest threats suggest that industry lobbyists believe they have enough senators lined up to back a Republican filibuster and block the public option.
But Democrats especially have reason to worry, because if they enact a reform package without the public option – and insurers then jack up rates – Democrats could be blamed for the unintended consequence of higher costs and thus pay a steep political price at the polls.
[For more on the Democrats' dilemma, see Consortiumnews.com's "Democrats Ponder Health-Care Suicide."]
Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to Amazon.com.
This article is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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This story was published on October 9, 2009.