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Meet Obama's New HHS Chief

by Stephen Lendman Friday, Apr. 11, 2014 at 1:17 PM


Meet Obama's New HHS Chief

by Stephen Lendman

She's like the old Health and Human Services chief. She's Sylvia Mathews Burwell. More on her below.

Kathleen Sebelius is out. She said she resigned. Maybe she was pushed. Obamacare claimed its latest victim. She served as chief architect. She presided over its disastrous rollout.

Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a giant scam. It rations care. It's a ripoff. It's a monstrosity.

It's rife with unacceptable inequities. It does nothing to control costs. They're spiraling out-of-control. They're increasingly unaffordable for growing millions.

ACA makes a dysfunctional system worse. It's double the cost of other developed nations.

It's woefully inadequate. It leaves millions uninsured. It leaves millions more way underinsured. It makes US healthcare more than ever unaffordable.

If employers don't provide it, consumers are out of luck. They're forced to choose from among unacceptable options.

They require buying insurance or be penalized. In 2014, it's per person up to 1% of family income, whichever is greater.

Fines increase sevenfold over the next two years. In 2016, it's 5 per person up to 2.5% of income. It's whichever is greater.

It's a boon to predatory providers. It should be. They wrote legislation mandating it. It assures they benefit at our expense.

It lets them game the system for profits. It lets them rip off consumers unaccountably. It offers a confusing array of plans.

They're privately run. Most leave consumers paying around 40% of costs out-of-pocket. It's after spending thousands of dollars on huge premiums.

It empowers IRS authorities. They'll enforce 47 new tax provisions. Expect nightmarish conditions ahead. Giving the agency power over healthcare is scandalous. Enormous harm is likely.

It's fast food healthcare. It makes underinsurance the new normal. Potential consequences are financially and medically grave.

ACA reduces uninsured numbers from 50 to 30 million. Insurance afforded is full of holes. It's confusing.

Costs vary by state and the negotiating power of exchanges. Prescription drug coverage isn't all inclusive. Some medications aren't covered.

Americans deserve better. Universal single-payer coverage alone provides it. Growing millions face life or debt.

Perhaps treating serious illness or paying rent. Perhaps damned one way or another. ACA makes America more than ever unfit to live in.

Sibelius was Obama's enforcer. In 2003, she became Kansas' 44th governor. In 2006, she won a second term.

She committed "to growing the Kansas economy and creating jobs." She said "every Kansas child (deserves) quality education."

All Kansans deserve "improv(ed) access to quality, affordable health care," she said.

In 2005, Time magazine named her one of the nation's top five governors. She's a former National Governors Association Executive Committee member.

As National Governors Association co-chair, she co-headed a Securing a Clean Energy Future initiative.

Before becoming HHS secretary, she pledged support for "our people hav(ing) access to the highest quality, most affordable health care."

She promised one thing. She delvered another. She enforced policies polar opposite what she pledged. It didn't surprise.

As Kansas governor, she betrayed her constituents. She left behind a string of broken promises. Perhaps why Obama chose her for HHS chief.

Promised high quality/affordable healthcare for Kansans never materialized. Private coverage decreased around 15%.

Medicaid enrollees increased about 30%. Uninsured numbers rose exponentially. Sibelius did virtually nothing to help.

Her agenda was pro-business. She supported cuts in state corporate income and property taxes. She endorsed repealing Kansas' estate and corporate franchise taxes.

She prioritized making Kansas investment friendly. She was notably anti-populist. She remained so in Washington.

She was predatory healthcare giants best friend. She served them at the expense of all others. She created an enormous scam. She leaves behind a huge mess.

Healthcare reform in America has a deplorable history. Lobbyists get what they want at our expense.

Initiatives date from 1913 - 1918 health insurance movement efforts. At issue was improving industrial workers' health and welfare.

Legislation was woefully inadequate. By 1920, the health insurance movement was dead. In the 1930s and 40s, government-sponsored health insurance again surfaced.

It was either in the form of federally-subsidized state programs or through Social Security. Medical opposition was considerable.

In the 1950s, views changed. Employer-provided coverage grew. In 1965, Medicare and Medicaid followed. So did calls for reform later on.

In 1993/94, Clinton addressed the issue. He did so unsuccessfully. Hillarycare featured managed competition/marketplace medicine.

It empowered providers over consumers. It provided an illusion of proper coverage. It excluded tens of millions altogether.

Profits trump human need. Nothing changed from earlier to today. America's healthcare history reflects failure to serve consumers responsibly.

Obamacare shows how little they matter. As long as America's business is business, expect profits to keep trumping human need.

Sibelius served from April 2009. She's out. Sylvia Mathews Burwell. Expect more of the same on her watch. White House chief of staff Denis McDonough said:

"The president wants to make sure we have a proven manager and relentless implementer in the job over there, which is why he is going to nominate Sylvia."

Healthcare giants will be in good hands on her watch. She's part of the system. It's why Obama chose her. She's currently Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director. She's been so since April 2013.

Previously she headed the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Global Development Program. Their foundation is the world's largest charity.

It invests in companies involved in causing health problems it claims to combat. It's unapologetic doing so.

Over 40% of its investments run counter to its claimed charitable goals. Its holdings include dozens of America's greatest polluters.

They're responsible for respiratory and numerous other diseases. Gates invests for profits.

Healthcare and other human needs don't matter. His Global Development Program operates the same way. In 2001, Burwell joined his foundation.

From 1998 through January 2001, she was Clinton's deputy OMB director. In March 2013, Obama nominated her for his OMB chief.

In April 2013, Senators confirmed her 96 - 0. On April 11, 2014,  Obama nominated her for HHS director.

Since 2011, she's been Walmart Foundation president. She was Gates' Libraries & Pacific Northwest executive director.

From 1995 - 1997, she was Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin's chief of staff. From 1993 - 1995, she was Clinton's National Economic Council staff director.

From 1992 - 1993, she was Clinton's economic transition team manager. From 1990 - 1992, she was a McKinsey and Company associate.

Since 2004, she served as Metropolitan Life Insurance Company director. She was a MetLife, Inc. director from January 21, 2004 through April 19, 2013.

She's a former Rhodes Scholar. She's a Council on Foreign Relations and Trilateral Commission member. Her other affiliations include:

• the University of Washington Medicine board;

• the Pacific Council on International Policy;

• the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) Smart Power Commission;

• the Aspen Institute's Aspen Strategy Group;

• the Nike Foundation Advisory Group;

• the Task Force on Transatlantic Relations for the Council on Foreign Relations, Inc.;

• Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government; and  

• University of Virginia's Governing Council of the Miller Center of Public Affairs.

Burwell is a US power community member in good standing. She'll fit right in at HHS.

She'll pick up where Sebelius left off. Her job is serving predatory healthcare providers.

It's benefitting them at the expense of consumers. It's prioritizing profits over human need. Her track record shows she won't disappoint.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

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