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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/16/09

No More Pretense for Health Reform

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Kevin Zeese
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CBO Estimates 36 million will still be uninsured ten years from now under most robust Democratic Plan


Well, cloudy rhetoric of “universal health care” is being clarified with the first Congressional Budget Office initial scoring of a health care bill.  The two key issues of cost and coverage are not going to be solved with the health care reform being considered.


The CBO scored the Kennedy-Dodd proposal, the most robust of the reform proposals actually being considered, and the bottom line is that it will leave 36 million without coverage a decade from now.  That is not what the Democrats and Obama have been promising.  It is nowhere near universal coverage.


According to the budget office “Once the proposal was fully implemented, about 39 million individuals would obtain coverage through the new insurance exchanges. At the same time, the number of people who had coverage through an employer would decline by about 15 million (or roughly 10 percent), and coverage from other sources would fall by about 8 million, so the net decrease in the number of people uninsured would be about 16 million.”


And, the Obama administration has sent word to Democrats to stop using the phrase “universal coverage.”  Lynn Sweet reports in the Chicago Sun-Times:


“In discussing a ‘public option,’ Obama's message team is telling Democrats on Capitol Hill to avoid using the phrase ‘universal coverage’ because that phrase is often associated with a single-payer system, which is often associated with ‘socialism,’ which the Obama administration does not support. The Obama team-approved language is instead to talk about ‘guaranteed health care,’ a phrase that is less polarizing.”


Guaranteed health care is just another empty marketing phrase by the eloquent, teleprompter wordsmiths in the Obama administration.  Despite the new rhetoric there is no guarantee of health care in any of the proposals being considered. 


The “universal coverage” phrase was always used by Democrats who opposed single payer as a phrase to confuse the voters.  Universal coverage sure sounds like it achieves the goal of single payer – providing health care for all.  But, it was always merely a marketing tool.  Now that the Democrats and Obama have kept single payer boxed up and not considered they can abandon this PR phrase for fear of looking to “socialist.” 

As to cost, the CBO reports $10 trillion in new expenses over ten years.  Yes, some will get lower premiums, but that is just a shifting of costs from premiums to taxes.  We will still be paying for wasteful and over-priced health care – still paying more per person than any country in the world – just out of a different pocket.

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Kevin Zeese is co-chair of Come Home America, www.ComeHomeAmerica.US which seeks to end U.S. militarism and empire. He is also co-director of Its Our Economy, www.ItsOurEconomy.US which seeks to democratize the economy and give people greater (more...)
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