imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
Tell the NSA: StopWatching.US

Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

CopWatch LA

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List





IMC Network: www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech
printable version - js reader version - email this article - view hidden posts - tags and related articles
link:

Obama’s Shakedown of Medicare

by Shamus Cooke Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 at 11:05 PM
portland@workerscompass.org

In a political era of corporate dominance it was inevitable that doublespeak would become the official language of Washington, DC. Now “cuts” to social programs are referred to as “savings,” while the destruction of these programs is “reform.” This is the essence of President Obama’s doublespeakish “Race to the Top” public education “reform,” as well as his yet-to-be-announced deficit plan based on Medicare “savings.”

The Medicare cuts are part of a larger “reform” of health care in the United States, which ultimately serves to shift the cost of health care off the backs of corporations, placing the burden firmly on the shoulders of working people.

The main reason that health care reform became a national priority for Obama is because it was a priority for big business: corporations have long complained that their employee health care costs were too high. And they’ve always hated paying payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare. Obama has responded gallantly to these grievances, as he did to the banks when they demanded to be bailed out with taxpayer money (thus creating a trillion dollars more in national debt).

Obama has remained mostly quiet about his Medicare plans, but has stated repeatedly “all options are on the table” (his favorite Bushism). The secretiveness is based on the unpopularity of the options, all of which have already been openly discussed in the media in the last two years of bi-partisan “Grand Bargain” haggling.

The Washington Post recently reported:

Obama said that he is committed to a broad effort [a grand bargain] to restrain the national debt and that past White House proposals to rein in Medicare costs… “are still very much on the table” as part of that effort” (February 5, 2013).

When Obama says “still on the table” he’s referring to the January 1st fiscal cliff “crisis,” where Medicare cuts were being considered — along with Social Security cuts — as part of a Grand Bargain deal.

The reason that Obama delayed the Medicare cuts is because he’s smart; better to first pose as the anti-corporate crusader by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire (which would have automatically expired in his first term had he not extended them). Now, Obama plans to pose as the “balanced” voice of reason, by balancing the national debt on the backs of working and retired people.

The most commonly discussed Medicare reform — among Republicans and Democrats — is raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67. Such a drastic move would likely be phased in 10 years down the road, so that those approaching 65 don’t burn down the White House in response.

Where will the future Medicare-less 65-year-old’s go? They’ll remain captive to the insurance companies of course, at much greater expense to them and the rest of society, since Medicare costs are profoundly cheaper than the private sector that Obama has enshrined in his Obamacare policies.

Other possible attacks on Medicare include the innocuous sounding “means testing,” which at first appears as a well reasoned progressive tax on wealthier Medicare recipients. However, as a study by the Kaiser Foundation concluded, such a policy would likely create a mass exodus from Medicare into the private healthcare field for higher income individuals.

Aside from lining the pockets of the healthcare corporations, such a Medicare exodus would also raise the Medicare premiums for everyone else, while destroying Medicare’s universal status — the basis for its effectiveness. The right wing has long sought for ways to create private “individual accounts” for Social Security and Medicare, since breaking people away from participation in a popular single system is the best way to fragment it, and ultimately destroy it.

And while raising the Medicare eligibility age and “means testing” would both immensely benefit corporations, this consciously pro-corporate policy began with Obamacare. Although Obamacare was applauded for expanding Medicaid nationally — a state administered program — the state level austerity cuts have reduced Medicaid to a second rate health care service, which promises to further degenerate as the state-level austerity crisis grinds on.

Less advertised was Obamacare’s Medicare “savings” [cuts] in the hundreds of millions of dollars, by singling out the Medicare Advantage program for hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts, while also reducing payments to Medicare contractors by hundreds of millions of dollars (hospitals, clinics, etc).

Of course hospitals simply shift this cost burden onto the patients, who receive less care, while giving doctors greater incentive not to see Medicare patients. As Medicare is steadily defunded, a two-tier healthcare system is created, where wealthier seniors will opt for private insurance while the rest will get second rate treatment, undermining the popularity and universality of Medicare, and thus making it more vulnerable to further cuts.

Obamacare will also levy a heavy tax on employers who actually give their employees good health care, thus discouraging the practice. For workers with union contracts, this tax will give employers leverage over the unions to make deep cuts in health care benefits, or end them completely. For non-union workers, employers are using Obamacare as an excuse simply to drop their employer-based health insurance, leaving workers to fend for themselves in the private realm.

The fact that Obamacare gives employers a strong incentive to weaken their employees health care plan is not an accident, but a key provision in the plan that will fundamentally change health care in a negative way for millions of people, and who will then be mandated to buy shoddy insurance for themselves. Corporations will thus save billions of dollars, while the health care corporations will have tens of millions of new paying customers, Obamacare’s real intention.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicts that at least 7 million people will be dropped from their employer health plan because of Obamacare, but the CBO also said that the figure could well rise to 20 million. Of course employers will take advantage of Obamacare to shift the cost of health care onto individuals, in the same way that employers shifted away from defined pension plans and onto the 401(k) scheme. Several employer surveys have reported that companies plan to dump their employee health care plans by the millions.

The attack on Medicare and health care in general is consistent with the many other attacks against the living standards of working people, including wages and benefits, safety net programs, full time employment, privatization of the public sector, etc.

Corporations benefit from all of these policies. High unemployment allows them to leverage lower wages, which create higher profits. The destruction of social programs and the broader public sector means lower taxes for the wealthy and corporations, who’d rather they fund private services explicitly for them and their rich friends.

All of these policies are “good for the economy” of the 1%, since the economy is dominated by the big banks and other corporations, who are strip mining the public sector for any bit of profitable morsel, and will continue to do so until they are stopped by a united effort of labor, community, and student groups demanding health care and jobs for all, to be paid for by the 1%.

Sources:

- http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/deficits-will-fall-to-less-than-1-trillion-in-2013-cbo-reports/2013/02/05/ec964f76-6fbd-11e2-8b8d-e0b59a1b8e2a_story_1.html

- http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/11/14/1187601/democrats-consider-raising-medicare-age-as-part-of-fiscal-cliff-deal/

- http://www.kff.org/medicare/upload/8276.pdf

- http://www.forbes.com/sites/aroy/2012/08/13/yes-obamacare-cuts-medicare-more-than-president-romney-would/

- http://www.forbes.com/sites/aroy/2012/05/14/how-obamacare-tackled-the-pitfalls-of-employer-sponsored-insurance-reform/

- http://cnsnews.com/news/article/71-percent-top-companies-could-drop-insurance-under-obamacare
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments



Freenet/Sone comments box:

This is a comment system called babcom, which is a decentralized, anonymous, encrypted, troll-resistant, comment system that runs atop Freenet. These comments are not stored on this IMC server - they exist in the Freenet cloud, and you must be running Freenet and Sone to see the comments. Install Freenet and try it out.

Use Node:

⚙ Babcom is trying to load the comments ⚙

This textbox will disappear when the comments have been loaded.

If the box below shows an error-page, you need to install Freenet with the Sone-Plugin or set the node-path to your freenet node and click the Reload Comments button (or return).

If you see something like Invalid key: java.net.MalformedURLException: There is no @ in that URI! (Sone/search.html), you need to setup Sone and the Web of Trust

If you had Javascript enabled, you would see comments for this page instead of the Sone page of the sites author.

Note: To make a comment which isn’t a reply visible to others here, include the red link below somewhere in the comment text.

Add this link to the comment:

Local News

Protests at fig and Washington N24 11:09PM

REMEMBERING CARLOS BULOSAN N23 6:27AM

Pressure on Orange County District Attorney to Prosecute Minors Counsel N22 5:30PM

RE-VISITING CARLOS BULOSAN N22 1:08PM

Winter 2014 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! N20 11:12PM

#UCLADivest N19 1:46AM

Ferguson verdict Monday? N16 1:42PM

TV LEGEND BOB BARKER FUNDS ‘LION’S SHARE’ OF SUCCESSFUL MISSION TO SAVE CIRCUS ANIMALS IN N13 11:30AM

Veterans Against Foreclosures Marches in San Fernando Veterans Day Parade N11 2:46PM

Disappeared Documentary in L.A N11 2:23PM

Los Angeles Questions Oversized LAPD Response to Million Mask March N07 1:57AM

Ghosts of Wall Street Occupy Hollywood Blvd Halloween Night N06 12:48PM

The "Cleaning Up" of Venice N02 5:16PM

Activists Hold Prayer Vigil for Lexi Dillon and Jonah Rief in Orange County O31 2:32PM

New ID Verification Feature on this Site O21 1:06AM

Sierra Club endorses activists for Water Board O20 2:02PM

INDY has been hijacked or sold? to commentators ? O17 9:58AM

Columbus Day Protest, Downtown L.A. O14 4:44PM

Demonstration in Los Angeles: In Solidarity with Kobani O11 12:23PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Washington Covertly Arming Ukraine N28 6:46AM

Over-the-Top Israeli Policies N28 3:46AM

Le fascisme du monde N27 11:39PM

Netanyahu's "Jewish State" Bill - Full text N27 9:25PM

Palestinian Children Brainwashed to Hate Jews, Become Warriors N27 9:20PM

The Shortwave Report 11/28/14 Listen Globally! N27 3:49PM

Monied Interests Have Lots to Give Thanks For N27 12:12PM

Israeli Children Brainwashed to Hate Arabs, Become Warriors N27 7:37AM

Heading for Possible Global War N27 4:17AM

Some LA Ferguson Protest Links N27 12:35AM

Anti-Israel vandalism on campus N26 10:52PM

Israeli Police State Ruthlessness N26 12:38PM

Rewarding Israel for High Crimes Against Peace N26 9:57AM

Unaccountable Israeli Settler Criminality N26 5:28AM

Israeli Ruthlessness 101 N26 2:09AM

Fascism in Ukraine N25 2:07PM

NATO's Dark Side N25 11:32AM

Video: Keystone PipeLIES Exposed, 18 min N25 6:30AM

Systemic Injustice in America N25 5:11AM

LA Protests Grand Jury Decision N24 9:40PM

Chris Dixon on Indymedia On Air N24 6:49PM

Hagel Sacking Suggests More War N24 1:56PM

Deadlocked Iran Nuclear Talks N24 10:20AM

Why Austerity Kills N24 6:47AM

NEW INTERVENTION BY FILIPINO WRITER IN FILIPINO N24 6:29AM

Albert Woodfox: 41 Years in Solitary Unjustly N24 2:54AM

Labor Solidarity Demands a “No” Vote on Israel Boycott N23 6:07PM

Palestinian resistance N23 4:00PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2003 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy