Monday, November 2, 2015

Obamacare helps provide health insurance to more children than ever before... and Republicans are working feverishly to take it away.

Above: A health clinic in Minneapolis, Minnesota, ca. 1935-1943. The description for this photo reads: "Operated by WPA funds, the Home provides special diet and proper rest to correct abnormal hearts of these children. 59 employed." Photo courtesy of the National Archives and the New Deal Network.

During the 1930s, President Roosevelt and his fellow New Deal policymakers made it a priority to expand medical services to all Americans. The WPA built & operated health clinics, the PWA built large hospitals, the CCC provided medical services for its low-income enrollees, young men & women in the NYA assisted in health research, and so on. Later, during his Second Bill of Rights speech, Roosevelt called for "The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health."

Obamacare (or, more properly called the "Affordable Care Act" (ACA)), while not as good as a single-payer system, has provided health insurance to millions of Americans - Americans who were denied health insurance before, by Corporate America. While few Democrats fight for (or even mention) a New Deal today, Obamacare does expand the New Deal concept of more health service for more people, regardless of ability to pay.

According to a study by Georgetown University, more children than ever before have health insurance, thanks, in part, to Obamacare. And West Virginia children have been doing exceptionally well. Terri Giles, executive director of West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, said: "While we have been chipping away at this for years, it was the ACA that really put us over the top. We saw significant declines in the number of uninsured children, and we’ve seen no increases, even across the nation -  it just so happens that West Virginia, in this instance, is on top. We really made this a priority for this state."

Meanwhile, Republicans and Tea Partiers have been working hard to take it all away. Through legislation, through legal actions, through political extortion, and through prophecies of apocalyptic doom, people like the Koch brothers, Koch-fund organizations, Koch-funded politicians, and the Ayn Rand worshiping congressman Paul Ryan are working feverishly to find some way--any way--to kick children and their parents off health insurance. They assure us they're working on a "market-based" alternative but, after five-and-a-half years, they have nothing to offer except continued declarations to repeal Obamacare. And these declarations appeal to their radical base of voters - voters who continue to scream out, "Obama wasn't born here! He's the Anti-Christ!! Benghazi!!!"


Above: In this video, we see a Republican candidate shooting the Affordable Care Act with several weapons. After the bullets fail to go all the way through the bill, he says, "Looks like we'll have to resort to more extreme measures to get rid of Obamacare and replace it with a market-based solution." This is just one of many campaign ads made in the past several years showing conservative politicians firing guns while expressing disapproval of President Obama, Obamacare, progressive policies, Democrats, etc. When politicians link guns to their disapproval of people & policies, what type of message does that send to their supporters? Does it promote peaceful and democratic compromise, or does it promote violence? Original YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_EzOycBgiE.)

The fact is, health insurance doesn't have a pure "market-based" solution. Health insurance is not like cars or furniture. For example, there is always a tendency to insure the healthy, and neglect those in need. There is little or no incentive to insure people who are going to cost you a lot more than they're paying you in premiums. When you have a market failure or imperfection like this, the government must step in to remedy the situation. Or, we could go back to the right-wing way--the policy we had for decades--which sarcastically says, "You don't have health insurance? You can't afford your medicine? Awwww, too bad for you."

Recently, it was reported that support for the Tea Party has dropped to a record low. Maybe Americans are finally waking up, and realizing that helping one's fellow citizens is better than calling them "takers," "moochers," "parasites," "wild animals," and "lazy pigs." Then again, tens of millions still plan on voting for Republican politicians who want to get rid of Obamacare, Medicare, and any other government-run or government-assisted health program. Hopefully, for the sake of America's children (and many others), more people will vote for non-Republican candidates.

(WPA poster, courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Brent

    In discussing the issue of health care, as far as the national policies go, it might be useful to bring up two key paradigms that have shaped the last century in order to get the view from the mountaintop so to speak, versus getting distracted by all the propaganda and hysteria that has come out recently. As is obvious, the New Deal did an immense job in upgrading the health infrastructure of the nation both through hospital construction and sanitation infrastructure. However, it wasn't until 1946 with the signing of the Hill Burton Act that stipulated a minimum standard of 4.6 beds per 1000 persons per county https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hill–Burton_Act that was brought about by the problem of the WW2 mobilization and the poor condition of the millions of people that entered the military at that time. The counter attack by Wall St. came in 1961 with the infamous recording of paid mouth Ronald Reagan using the insanity of the Cold War to make the stupid comparison of government regulated health care to "socialized medicine" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRdLpem-AAs which led to the signing of the HMO Act of 1973 by Nixon. Along with the destruction of the Bretton Woods institutions and globalization that were brought in by the Shultz/Friedman/Kissinger team was the increasing takeover and insertion of the insurance companies/Wall St. on health care as a source of income for the increasingly speculative nature of the financial system culminating in the repeal of Glass Steagall under the pretext of a merger of Citicorp in 1998 with Travelers Corp., an insurance company which owned Salomon Smith Barney, an investment bank. The merger was blatantly illegal under Glass-Steagall, since it would combine a commercial bank with an investment bank. In fact, the announcement of the merger was itself a violation of Federal conspiracy statutes, since it represented the two parties stating an intent to break the law. But rather than enforce the law, the Federal government fell all over itself to change the law to accommodate the bankers. The merger went through, and Citicorp became Citigroup.
    Since the blowout of the entire financial ponzi scheme recently, increasing looting of the living standards of the population for the purposes of the bailout of the system came in the form of Obamacare, not as a health issue, but as a forcing of the people to sign up for "health insurance" that is governed by the principle of the original 73 HMO act, namely, it is more profitable to delay and deny treatment, a fact of reality to anyone that has to sue the HMO's in order to get treatment. The original intent of the Behavioralist economists like Ezekial Emmanuel was revival of the infamous Nazi T4 Euthanasia board that made up a portion of the Nuremberg Trials that prosecuted doctors along with the military leaders. However, in the hysteria of the kerfluffal of the "Death Panel" buzzword, some of those provisions were nixed. The problem remains though, that the financial system requires the income stream from health care for the gambling in the derivative market by the merged conglomerate of insurance and speculative finance. Obama as a tool of the financial system gave them the means of having everyone be forced to sign up, or be fined. It's still the same rotten HMO system that makes a profit from denying health treatment, its just that you have no choice, sign up or else. The utter stupidity of the Ayn Rand freaks just makes it that more ludicrous that because "government" has a hand that its a violation of the gods of the market.

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