Friday, January 30, 2009

"Health Care Now": Paul Krugman, New York Times

The title of Paul Krugman's op-ed piece in the New York Times today is "Health Care Now." He discusses many reasons why creating a national healthcare system should be one of the first tasks of the new Obama administration, rather than being put aside and disregarded because we're having tough economic times. His article is very persuasive. Link is at the bottom of this post.

Mr. Krugman notes that as millions of Americans are thrown out of work, they also lose their healthcare. Even when people are employed they often are not given health insurance by their employers, and find it impossible to obtain private health insurance that is affordable. But when people are unemployed, it becomes particularly unlikely they will be able to afford to buy health insurance for themselves and their families.

Mr. Krugman makes the point that the stimulus package being proposed by Obama includes an enormous amount for tax cuts being demanded by the Republicans, although he does not specifically say whether he opposes further tax cuts. I figure we've had 8 years of Republican tax cuts, and it's gotten us to where we are today: flat broke and busted. We don't need no stinkin' tax cuts.

There's also the question of the billions of dollars Bush gave to Wall Street which Wall Street now refuses to tell us where they put that money. My theory is they invested in manufacturing facilities in China, car plants in Brazil, and otherwise continued the raping and looting of the citizens of the U.S. for the benefit of the few. But here's the question: why does Congress vote to give billions of dollars to Wall Street, but they refuse to do anything to help the citizens of this country?

Exxon-Mobil just announced another record-breaking profit of $42 billion: that's money stolen from the American public by price gouging, all done of course with the willing cooperation of the Bush Regime. We should simply take that $42 billion in "profit" (I call it theft) and use that to pay half the healthcare for all Americans.

I also think we need a rule saying that any money given by any company or employee of Wall Street or any financial cartel or any company in the same field as anyone receiving a bailout should automatically go into a special healthcare fund. In other words, our politicians in Congress keep voting to give billions of dollars in taxpayer money to the wealthiest people in this country, and those rich people kick back a huge percentage to the politicians and to their political parties. See the problem here?

Congress steals money from the citizens, gives it to Wall Street, Wall Street kicks backs millions to Congress. Then Congress turns around and tells the citizens that we're broke. Let's stop the kick-backs, the bribes, the corruption. Everyone wants to talk about Illinois, nobody wants to talk about the same exact type of bribery and corruption in Congress. So let's take all the "contributions" from any distressed industry, or employees of that industry, and put it into a special fund to pay for healthcare.

Doesn't anyone else think it's absurd that our Congressional people, Senators and Representatives, right at this moment, are taking millions of dollars in bribes from doctors' groups, health insurance companies, and hospitals, to bribe the politicians to make sure they will not support any kind of national healthcare program for the citizens of this country. How can we really compete when we don't have money to pay the bribes? The only way to stop this corruption is to take all that money as well -- every penny paid to any politician from any doctor, doctors' groups, hospital groups, drug companies or their employees -- it all goes straight into a fund to pay for national healcare.

The sad truth is that the citizens of this country do not have a national healthcare system because our politicians have taken millions of dollars in bribes to vote against it. Bribes paid from the same industries that are raping the people, charging unconscionable fees for delivering what is often shoddy medical care.

Krugman also says: "But I also agree with Barney Frank, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, who argues that — as a matter of political necessity as well as social justice — [bailout money] has to be linked to a strengthening of the social safety net, so that Americans can see that the government is ready to help everyone, not just the rich and powerful. The bottom line, then, is that this is no time to let campaign promises of guaranteed health care be quietly forgotten. It is, instead, a time to put the push for universal care front and center. Health care now! "

I would just add that the 350 billion in bailout money given to Wall Street late last year by Congress should have had conditions attached at the time. I mean come on. Do they really think we're so stupid? The reason Congress did not attach conditions to the money is because they wanted a kick-back, and they could only get that if there were no strings attached to the money. We can't just blame Bush for this. As I recall, every single photo-op of politicians putting money in wheelbarrows and dragging it over to Wall Street showed George W. Bush flanked by Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Steny Hoyer. The Democrats wanted to make sure that Wall Street would pay the kick-backs to them directly.

If we really want Congress to do anything for the citizens, we need to demand that they stop taking bribes and kick-backs from the same industries and corporations that are destroying the citizens of this country. When you think about it, most of the bribes probably came from money stolen from the American public. Blood money. We cannot afford jobs and corruption, healthcare and bribes, peace now and kick-backs. We need to end corruption in order to create a decent country. You cannot create anything good out of the sespool of corruption that is our Congress.

See for a comprehensive description of money given to our politicians by these various industries.

For example, in 2008, here are just a few examples of money money paid by different parts of the healthcare industry to our politicians to make sure our politicians will never support a national healthcare program to help the citizens:

$27.0 million Drug companies. Why do you really think Congress passed laws making it illegal for Americans to take a bus across the border and buy their drugs in Canada? The exact same drugs, exact same manufacturer, but about 1/3 the cost? Because the drug companies bribed Congress to pass these laws. Because the drug companies are gouging Americans by obscene prices. Which means many Americans simply die because they can't afford the drugs. But the drug companies don't care. And neither does Congress which, at the same time, passed laws saying it was okay for the supermarkets to import poisoned food from China and sell it to Americans. See the contradictions there? The citizens always lose. Whoever pays the most bribes wins.

$43.0 million Insurance companies (of course that's not just health, but health is included)

$87.0 million Health "Professionals" (doctors). Why do doctors need to bribe Congress? What is it they are buying? Just for one thing, they want laws to make it impossible for any victim to sue a doctor for malpractice. So if your car mechanic messes up your brakes and you are seriously damaged, you can sue. But if a doctor messes up your surgery, they bribe Congress to pass laws to make it very difficult for victims to sue or to receive compensation for their injuries. But mostly, doctors want to make sure they can continue to charge obscene amounts for their services. And that means no national healthcare and a captive consumer group which has nowhere else to go.

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