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Continue to Fight for Universal Healthcare

by cold splash of water Sunday, Mar. 08, 2009 at 12:36 PM

This current economic crisis, a Virtual Depression, is creating the conditions for the people to fight for, and win, Universal Health Care rights, so everyone is entitled to quick, quality health care, funded by federal, state, and local governments.

This current economic crisis, a Virtual Depression, is creating the conditions for the people to fight for, and win, Universal Health Care rights, so everyone is entitled to quick, quality health care, funded by federal, state, and local governments.

Already, the economy suffers because the health of the people suffers. People are out sick for too long due to lack of quick, cheap treatment. TB, which had been virtually eradicated, is making a comeback. Too-frequent use of antibiotics have created a generation of super-bacteria.

Insurance is Capitalism

Until recently, however, the insurance companies have been too influential in Congress and other branches of government. Not only did they control votes, they controlled, and continue to control, ideology.

Moreover, as we've seen with the AIG bailouts, the insurance companies present themselves as "health care providers" or a form of "caretaker" for people struck by disaster or accident, but they're actually more like banks.

They take your premiums, and invest them in the various speculative markets.

They're capitalists. As we've seen (and will continue to see) they're irresponsible, and flagrantly try to avoid public scrutiny. When they're highly regulated, as they are in all states, they will acquire businesses with less regulation so that they can "choose a regulator" and then, basically, buy the regulators off.

Political Opposition to Insurance

Presently, over 43 million people lack insurance. Though that sounds like a lot, it's only around 15% of the population. The remaining 85% are covered, and form a vast majority.

Additionally, people in the uninsured 15% have access to fixed-cost public health (in Los Angeles, the cost is a high per visit) or Medicaid if they have children. So that tends to weaken the ability for UHC to demand equal access to health resources.

Captialist Outreach to Destroy Popular Politics

Presently, if you peruse the supermarkets, by the exits where they distribute apartment renter magazines, you'll see that the health insurance companies are creating a new, lower cost tier of insurance for the working class. This is a deliberate effort to blunt the public support for UHC.

This the "99 Cents Store" model of capitalist appeasement. To keep people psychologically open to supporting insurance, they create a low-end version of insurance that is, basically, garbage, and then sell it very cheap, to maintain public goodwill and prevent political organizing against the insurance industry.

The logic of this product is simple and nefarious. Once you're actually sick, and financially wiped out due to bad insurance, or not cured due to lack of access to specialists, you won't be in any condition to fight the insurance company.

Moreover, you'll be alone in your fight, and doomed to lose.

Organizing Challenges

The primary organizing challenge is that people without insurance tend to be dispersed. Labor unions, who have always argued for national health care, are mobilizing, but, the membership is not coming along strongly. That's because they often have some of the best health insurance out there. This is because many of the better health care systems are union-organized. Additionally, only around 10% of the workforce is unionized, so while they are vocal and prominent, their organizing doesn't overlap with the people who most need to be organized.

The churches have more overlap with the uninsured people, but the large ones are also running nonprofit hospitals. So, they are in competition with the government to operate health care for all. Look around LA, and there are a lot of church hospitals. CHW = Catholic Healthcare West. City of Angels. White Memorial is 7th Day Adventist. Good Samaritan is Episcopal. Cedars Sinai is Jewish.

These two groups could sign on the single payer, but may oppose greater involve by the government in their health care operations.

On the Flipside - the new online realities

The great problem is organizing the unorganized. They are hard to reach. Mainly, the greatest barrier is being able to get enough people together to where they can collectively agree to fight for UHC or single payer.

The cities were "spacially deconcentrated" in the 60s, and the new influx of residents is wealthy, causing the uninsured to be dispersed even further.

On the other hand, we have new technologies to reach people via cel phones, internet, and text messages. The cost of reaching a person, to get them involved, is lower than ever. Not only that, but these people are willing to contact other people on your behalf, because the cost is so low, creating a multiplier effect.

Thus, it's important that the movement for UHC support any legislation that will reduce telecommunications costs and preserve low costs on the internet. Furthermore, they should also support expansion of broadband internet into low-income communities. Support your local internet cafe, where people without gain access to information.

Today, the government is taking the lead, but without support at the base, they will fail to win. Please read the following websites.

http://www.pnhp.org/

http://www.onecarenow.org/

http://www.amsa.org/uhc/

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