The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Health Care Reform—A Holiday Gift for Big Insurance

Dec 21, 2009

After months of wheeling and dealing, Senate Democrats lined up their last member to vote for so-called medical “reform.”

Bad enough as the original Senate bill had been, this version, after “insertions” and “deletions,” was worse.

The weak public option was made weaker still–by being stripped out.

Stripped out of Medicare was full coverage for home health care for home-bound beneficiaries.

And inserted into the bill was a “commission” set up to make future cuts in Medicare.

Also inserted were some very big gifts to insurance companies. They will be allowed to write policies in one state to sell to consumers in every other state–settling on the state with the weakest regulations. They can charge you 50% higher if you have “certain health factors,” like high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. They can set annual limits on how much they pay out when you have a serious illness.

Even Howard Dean, the former Democratic Party leader, called this bill a gift to the insurance industry.

It certainly is! And not only that, it’s another attack on women. While all these insertions were being made, Democratic Senator Ben Nelson, former insurance industry executive, held out for his demands for the de facto elimination of insurance coverage for abortion.

This isn’t the end of it. The bill now goes to the Senate-House Conference Committee where, behind closed doors, more “insertions” and “deletions” can be made.

The overall consequences of the reform–even as it now stands–will be monstrous. Those without insurance will be forced to buy overpriced, nearly useless policies, or pay a big fine for nothing. Those with insurance will see more limits put on them, and many will be taxed on their policies. Those on Medicare face steep reductions. Those on Medicaid face more cutbacks. And women will have still more difficulty gaining access to an abortion should they need it.

Reform? No–it’s an outright attack!