Posts Tagged ‘corporate’

Los Angeles Event This Sunday: April Ghouls Day March and Rally Against Corporate Healthcare

March 26th, 2012

Concentrated Wealth Is THE Barrier to True Healthcare Reform

September 23rd, 2011

In an excellent essay posted on the site, Dr. Margaret Flowers of Physicians for a National Health Program writes that the real reason we still don’t have Medicare for all in this country is because of the immense power of concentrated wealth.

…the single payer movement is not in a position to counter the corporate stranglehold on our political process. And, in reality, winning single payer in isolation will not accomplish much towards improving the health of our population if we do not also address the social determinants of health such as education, the environment, housing, violence, jobs and equal rights.

Under our current political system, one in which Democrats and Republicans are controlled by concentrated corporate power and in which independent parties have no opportunity to succeed, all who advocate for peace and social, economic and environmental justice face the same barriers. Together these movements have the strength to take on corporate power. We will never match corporate power with our collective dollars when the richest 400 people  have more wealth than 154 million people, but we can defeat them with our collective voices.

Dr. Flowers is right. We must acknowledge the fact that the U.S. political system is rigged in favor of the enriched few. A system where politicians must constantly raise huge sums of money in order to gain office is a system that serves the interests of the wealthy few over the interests of the many. This system is the primary barrier to achieving a healthcare reform that is fair, equitable and affordable for all. And that is a system that must be changed. Concentrated power must be confronted and defeated by organizing coalitions of single payer activists with other groups who fight for social and economic justice. We can do this if we work together.

My Healthcare Story – Art Mensor

December 9th, 2010

I was employed at Warner Bros. Studios for 37 years. During 27 of those years, I was either Chief Steward or President of the Warner Bros. Clerical Union. We always received the same benefits that the larger Basic Crafts & IATSE unions were able to get in their negotiations.

All during my 37 years at Warner Bros. I was able to go to the local Motion Picture Health Plan Clinic in Burbank and get all the medical attention or referrals I needed, all with absolutely no co-pay, with the exception of $10 for dental and vision visits.

This Motion Picture Health Plan was considered one of the absolute best in the whole country.

I retired 9 years ago, and for the first 8 years, Motion Picture/Blue Cross paid all the medical bills I received with Medicare paying the first 80% and Motion Picture/Blue Cross paying the remaining 20%.

All that changed August 1, 2009 when Motion Picture switched to Blue Shield and Motion Picture/Blue Shield arbitrarily put new caps on what they would pay for all charges from doctors. For the 12 months between August 1, 2009, and August 1, 2010 this resulted in $1,100 in charges that Motion Picture/Blue Shield would not and did not pay.

I appealed these charges with an 11-page letter describing every dollar they would not pay. Three months later, I received a form letter, saying that my appeal was denied, and that all medical claims were paid appropriately.

I realize that medical insurance has risen in cost over the last 5-10 years, but to go from $0- to $1,100 in 12 months suggests something has gone terribly wrong.

A United Health Care commercial shows a woman running in a park with all those numbers moving around her body, and then at the end of the commercial, United Health Care proudly states, “72,000 employees to take care of 7,000,000 Americans.”

Well, that is where your medical dollars are going today: to those 72,000 employees and their CEOs.  The HMOs and the huge conglomerate healthcare companies we have today actually make more money by denying many people the health care they desperately need.

It is a moral shame for these people to be making money from the health of Americans.

Arthur Mensor
Palm Springs,  CA

A Corporate Carol

December 5th, 2010

‘Tis the holiday season, but the Scrooges and Grinches of the health industry and their political minions are doing their best to ensure the less fortunate get nothing but stockings of coal. It never ceases to amaze how positively Dickensian our healthcare system has become.

The latest example comes from Arizona, where the state legislature cut Medicaid funding for people needing certain kinds of transplants, cuts that would save about $4.5 million a year. Arizona legislators based their decision on false information given to them by guess who? – a couple of insurance companies. Unfortunately, Arizona’s governor, Jan Brewer, is refusing use her power to call a special session to reverse the cuts, and the state legislature doesn’t plan to revisit the issue until January. MSNBC host Keith Olbermann reported on these real “death panels” and interviewed two families affected by the cuts:

Arizona isn’t the only state turning its back on the most vulnerable. Texas is considering opting out of Medicaid entirely. One Texas congressman, Jim Pitts, was especially candid about the consequences of that while addressing a group of Tea Party supporters. The following appeared in the Houston Chronicle:

Pitts didn’t advocate the change in health care for the poor at a meeting of the Ellis County Tea Party, just noted that it will be discussed by lawmakers.
But unlike others who have painted a rosy picture of a potential health-care restructuring without filling in the details, Pitts gave a stark answer when an audience member asked about an ill friend who is on Medicaid.
The questioner reacted with concern when Pitts said the state is looking at getting out of the program. What will my friend do then? Will you throw him out in the street?
“If we did exactly what we’re doing today, we wouldn’t be throwing him out in the street. But if we have any savings in getting out of Medicaid, we will have to throw some people out in the street,” said Pitts, R-Waxahachie. He noted, “I’m not telling you that your friend would be.”

Classy. So, this is what we’ve come to. Our fellow citizens are abandoned in their time of greatest need and a member of our government describes the fate of those citizens in such cold and clinical terms.

Meanwhile, researchers release more evidence that many Americans continue to suffer from a healthcare system that looks more 19th century than 21st. Filmmaker Michael Moore wrote in his blog just before Thanksgiving that corporations are “pushing us all off a cliff,” with their attacks on the environment, the economy and the health of our citizens. Is the healthcare system their cynical way of thinning the herd, of getting rid of the weak in favor of the powerful? This idea is known as social Darwinism, the belief that social elites (the rich and powerful) are superior and therefore more deserving of survival.

The world in which Charles Dickens wrote his yuletide classic, A Christmas Carol, was that of Industrial-era England of the mid-1800s, where workers had no rights and the upper classes owned most of the wealth. If you were poor, you had no access to health care. That was the harsh reality of Ebenezer Scrooge’s put-upon employee, Bob Cratchit, and Crachit’s sickly son, Tiny Tim. At least Scrooge eventually saw the error of his greedy ways and the story has a happy ending for the Crachit family. But if Dickens got in a time machine and traveled to 21st century America, he would be saddened to see that some of the social ills he wrote about haven’t changed. There are still millions of families like the Crachits struggling to survive, and still a lot of corporate Scrooges who could use a good Christmas haunting.