Spreading their Addictions; and, They Are Winning;
But, there is Still Time; If We Fight Back
Upcoming G20 meeting in Pittsburgh will be crucial
by Phil E. Benjamin
If you think that the full court press that the Drug and Insurance Companies monopolies are applying to the U.S. Congress and the White House is only taking place here, your mistaken. The globalized international economic and financial crisis is causing desperate hardships and deaths around the world, NOT SO, for these monopolies. They are enjoying profits and seeking more.
In the U.S., the front page NY Times story of August 6th put a dagger in the hearts of health activists. Big PHARMA, the organization of the drug company monopolies in the USA and also, I am sure, in concert with their international counterparts, have been able to win the most important concession in the current round of Congressional and White House health struggles. It is reported that our government will NOT try to negotiate low drug prices with the drug companies as is done in the Veterans Hospitals and Medicaid.
This prohibition on the government-negotiating drug pricing dates from the Bush Administrations 2003 Medicare Modernization Act, which specifically prohibits that. Too many Democrats endorsed that Act which continued the privatization of Medicare and gave the hope a prescription drug benefit, which had many holes. Now, with the opportunity to reverse that provision, it appears that the drug monopolies can continue to charge what ever they please in any future national health legislation coming out of Congress and the White House. This could be the equivalent of throwing in the towel.
TRUE DRUG ADDICTION
This kind of drug addition by Washington politicians, that is, being addicted to the taking of millions of dollars of PHARMA political contributions has not stopped. That means that the price of any national health proposal will skyrocket. And, it means that the overall cost of any health legislative proposal must be borne by others…that means you and me.
When politicians look around the for money to finance the House and Senate proposals they will be doing the usual, making working class people pay the bill. Having federal negotiations of the price of drugs would not solve the problem completely, but it would have sent a major signal that this time Corporate America would pay and not workers and their families.
This means that the TAXING OF WORKERS BENEFITS' will be high on the agenda for Congress and the White House. We have to remove it.
The insurance carrier monopolies appear to be also winning their goals. For example, there was talk of eliminating the profit making insurance carriers from the Medicare program, i.e., the Medicare Advantage carriers. That would have saved over $15 billion a year. The proposal seems to be lost.
Why? Simple. Their full court press of the health insurance monopolies with financial contributions to every member of Congress and the White House; and their massive media blitz on television on radio is outdoing their 1990s blitz.
Karen Ignani, CEO of the American Health Insurance Plans organization and chief lobbyist for the insurance industry, was written up in the August 5th NY Times paper. She, ironically, was, a few years back, a secondary lobbyist for the AFL-CIO on health matters. She now made heading up the insurance monopolies, according to the NY times, $1.7 million in 2007. She is in charge of legions of well-heeled lobbyists combing every member of Congress and the White House to plea their case against the Public Option.
Max Baucus the head of the Senate Finance Committee, an admitted INSURANCE COMPANY ADDICT, is winning the day against any PUBLIC OPTION; or a PUBLIC OPTION THIS IS SO PRIVATE IN NATURE AND SUBSTANCE AS TO NOT REALLY BE PUBLIC AT ALL. There has been expose' after expose' that Baucus us owned completely by the insurance carriers. Yet he is allowed to sit at the grand power broker of national health reform. He should be forced to recuse himself due to conflict of interest with the insurance carriers.
Baucus is using the phoney "bipartisan" strategy for national health insurance. His idea of "bipartisan" is just another word for corporate rule.
DARK DAYS IN CONGRESS UNLESS WE ACT: NOW
These are dark days in Washington, D.C. THE FATE OF OVER 50 MILLION PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO HEALTH INSURANCE AND THE OTHER 60 MILLION WILL LOUSY BENEFITS IS BEING DETERMINED BY THE INDUSTRY ITSELF.
The fate of the Obama Administration is in the wind. The DRUG AND INSURANCE COMPANY MONOPOLIES smell blood. They have no shame or conscience.
UNLEASHING THEIR FOOT SOLDIERS TO DESTROY MEETINGS
Now we hear about, and maybe some readers have personally witnessed, the foot soldiers of their monopolies as they deliberately disrupt and destroy honest Town Hall meetings seeking to learn about national health reform. Sounds like Germany in the 1930s, breaking up peaceful meetings.
A united labor and people's movement can turn the tide, but time is fleeting.
AN EMERGENCY "MARCH ON WASHINGTON" WHEN CONGRESS RETURNS FROM RECESS MAYBE THE ONLY WAY TO GET OUR MESSAGE ACROSS AND TRUMP THE POWER BROKERS IN CONGRESS.
AROUND THE WORLD
Around the world these same monopolies are using the International Economic and Financial Crisis to their benefit. In every country in Europe there are efforts to cut back in national health care programs. The Center Right governments of Germany, France, Italy and Portugal are gleefully hoping to move in this right wing direction and cut back on their national health programs. Those lead by social democratic forces: England and Spain….are collapsing under the demand from these monopolies.
These anti-people cutbacks are being met with mass demonstrations lead by labor unions and peoples' organizations. These are happening extensively in each and every country but they are rarely reported in the USA.
Because of these massive fight backs, the governments find more stealth methods to cut back. They simply claim poverty and don't fund their national health services and hospitals to the degree necessary. As you can surmise, this brings gaps in services. Those gaps are filled with the offers from private insurance companies buy those same services that were heretofore free. United Health Care Insurance Company is actively working with the English government to get their profits and probably has a hand in other country's governments health programs. United Health Care spends half its time avoiding jail time for their shady financial dealings.
And, this is happening NOW. Less than 7% of people in these countries go that route, but the foot is in the door.
Also, each country is being lobbied hard by the Drug Cartels, which are also internationally based; to pay more for their government negotiated prices. This is a new feature that surely will be more apparent in the next few years.
INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY IS NEEDED
This all the more reason for a resounding demonstration of the upcoming G-20 Meetings taking place in Pittsburgh, Pa in Mid September.
People from around the world will be in Pittsburgh demanding justice from the G-20. Health Care Rights is a Good Demand to Start With. Get yourself to Pittsburgh!!!