Andy Stern of Service Employees International Union calls the much ballyhooed plan to "lower" health care costs a "game changer." And why not? His organization brought together the various for-profit health care groups that came up with the plan.
If Stern and SEIU, a union representing mainly low wage workers, buy into Big Health and Big Pharma's PR blitz, they're clearly being duped. As Robert Pear writes for the New York Times News Service
In other words, the savings initiative "secure[s] a seat at the table" for the health care industry without any guarantees that it will bear results. What it will do, however, is give insurers the leverage to oppose any "public" option in health care reform.
What a deal.
James Ridgeway calls the whole thing a "scam":
And he's right. The only guaranteed way to lower the costs of health care AND to cover everyone is with a single payer system. If profit isn't taken out of health care, basic health services will never be affordable for everyone.
Some will argue that a system like Medicare-for-all will drive a stake through a huge part of the American economy. Not true. The pharmaceutical giants will still be in business. And so will the private insurers, who can offer enhanced coverage for those willing and able to pay more. That's the way it works in many countries with true universal health care, where private companies are forbidden to profit from basic, and essential, services.
Private American insurers don't like that. And neither do many of our legislative "leaders", especially those who take massive amounts of money from the health care industry. Max Baucus, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, is a good example.
Despite the fact that a majority of Americans want a single payer system because, in the words of Ralph Nader, they "...like the free choice of doctors and hospitals that many are now denied by the HMOs", Baucus refused to schedule testimony in health care hearings from any supporter of single payer.
Here's what happened when eight audience members, "most of them physicians and lawyers," stood in protest:
That's American representative democracy in action.