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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/12/19

Time to Ban the Profit Motive From the Healthcare System

Republished from The Greanville Post

Medicare for All Rally
Medicare for All Rally
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Healthcare is a never-ending topic in capitalist nations, even those that seem to boast excellent systems with universal access guaranteed to all. Such is the case in Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Britain, for example (the latter being one of the first in the postwar period to inaugurate a really socialized system, the NHS), and also Canada, which uses a more conventional hybrid approach, part capitalist, part state. This kind of endless fretting and argumentation is inherent in any deeply class divided society that, after much delay, chooses to embrace a socialist idea to solve a major problem. Socialist islands are in constant danger when floating in a capitalist ocean. On this aspect of the issue, more below.

As most of us know, the US tops all nations for the degree of rancor underlining the discussion, the artificially idiotic complexity of its historical "solutions" (i.e., Obamacare) and the astonishing degree of disinformation permeating the topic, not surprising since the corporate media are also part of the billionaires' club controlling the US economy and all its crucial institutions.

Below, I have reproduced Al Klein's contribution, one of the best replies we could find among the many submitted to this provocatively stupid question on Quora (something common to detonate a high response rate). The writer presents in ironic tones a good picture of what Medicare is all about, and its solid socialist DNA. Ditto for the VA, one of the best socialized medicine systems around, despite the constant badmouthing by the media.

Too bad Mr Klein forgot to mention that Medicare remains terrific (when compared to the still prevalent private-insurance Darwinian system in place), despite the fact it was enacted with deliberate flaws, like that man-made, not God-ordained 80% cap to coverage, which vultures in the "supplemental insurance" racket, like United Healthcare, and the AARP itself, have used to great effect to line their pockets even more. Indeed, it didn't have to be that way at all, as proven by many countries (capitalist countries, mind you) that never even considered such a ridiculous and treacherous clause. The fact that this outrageous built-in flaw is so little noticed by most Americans, let alone protested, is testament to their passivity and confusion, and to their lack of genuine leadership. Watch the TV spot below, and observe how these hustlers make it sound like the Medicare "up to 80% coverage" is something like a divine rule instead of an arbitrary piece of rotten legislation that should have been fixed ages ago:

Incidentally, contrary to what appears to be its stated mission, to help senior citizens, for the most part AARP has done absolutely nothing to help in this regard, in fact it continues to profit mightily from this flaw by allying itself with the insurance racquet.

Meanwhile, as US capitalism and its imperialist incubus enter at last their phase of decline, and the ruling class looks for more ways to inject "austerity" among the hoi polloi while still enjoying the protection of its absurdly bloated and expensive military, the muscle they use to preserve their lucrative hegemony around the globe, the choir from the bought politicians and pundits grows louder in their insistence to "fix" Medicare and Social Security "entitlements" that, they claim, we can't afford, an absurd statement in a nation that spends a trillion dollars a year on "defence" against enemies it literally invents. Drastic measures are in order, say these experts, including privatisation as the favorite option. Man, how predictable these charlatans are.

If there is no crisis, let's create one

Since Medicare and Social Security in the US, and the NHS in Britain, as well as similar programs in other nations, are deeply esteemed and embraced by the vast majority of the population, the ruling class is working hard to make them look inefficient and financially unsustainable.

Unsustainable by design

The Judases in Congress and media clamoring for reform in the name of a non-existent threat of social security financial collapse base themselves on dubious long-term projections that, theoretically, might pose a small risk to the SSA payouts. The crux of the matter is in (again) the artificial and ludicrously low arbitrary cap Congress set up for social security taxes on earnings, an obvious bow to the rich who certainly did not want to "subsidise" their less fortunate countrymen, even though social security checks would also be higher for those who would contribute more.

It follows that the obvious cure to this fabricated crisis is simply to lift the cap on earnings entirely. In 2018, the Social Security wage base was $128,400. That means that you'll have to pay Social Security payroll taxes only up to $128,400, which works out to a maximum of 6.2 percent of that figure, or $7,960.80. With much fanfare this was raised for 2019 to a maximum taxable of $132,900. Anyone can see the umpteen billions that the treasury is losing each year by embracing this idiotic tax template of no benefit to anyone, except the uber pampered 1%.

Tripping Medicare, Social Security, the NHS and other social safety net programs
As mentioned above, for pretty obvious reasons social safety programs enjoy enormous support in every country where they have been enacted. In the late 1980s, toward the end of her disastrous reign, Margaret Thatcher, as vicious a reactionary as any seen in Britain before or after, triggered a firestorm when she seemed intent on tweaking the NHS out of existence. Arrogant by nature, Thatcher miscalculated, she had simply gone too far. A paper published in 1989 by two social scientists commenting on opinion shifts in Britain in regard to healthcare, noted that,

In the United Kingdom, the public is generally more accepting of changes in policy than are the populations of many other countries. But that docility often changes when it comes to the subject of Britain's national Health Service (NHS). Indeed, politicians of every persuasion in the United Kingdom seem duty- bound not to be seen as attacking the NHS. The NHS became a particular source of controversy in 1989 because British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher proposed some major reforms through a White Paper that was tabled in January"(Robert J. Blendon and Karen Donelan, Health Affairs, Winter 1989).

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Patrice Greanville is founding editor and publisher of The Greanville Post (www.greanvillepost.com).

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