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Glenzilla: Senate Bill Does “More Harm Than Good”

Glenn Greenwald, on Democracy Now:

Well, the whole point of the public option originally was that if you’re going to mandate that people buy health insurance, then it is only a legitimate and moral thing to do if you actually provide them with a public-run program, so that the health insurance industry, which is notorious for gouging people and for engaging in all sorts of nefarious business practices, can’t use the mandate to essentially get 30 million new customers and then gouge them for profits while providing them with virtually no services.

And the argument of Howard Dean and others is that this bill actually does more harm than good. The argument is not, well, since it’s not pure enough ideologically or it’s not perfect, it should be defeated; the argument is that it actually does more harm than good, because it reinforces the monopoly status of the private healthcare industry and, at the same time, forces huge numbers of Americans, many of whom will not be able to afford it, to buy products that are inadequate and that they do not want. It perpetuates the very system that supposedly was the impetus in the first place for healthcare reform to pass.

A commenter over at Pam’s place makes what Glenn is talking about explicit:

If this bill were to pass as is…
It would remove any chance I have to access health care.

If I am forced to purchase insurance, even the cheapest plan, and then pay the first 1,200 out of pocket and co-pays, I won’t be able to do anything but pay the premium or the fine. I won’t be able to afford to actually use the insurance.

The only thing I can afford now is regular trips to the dentist, an M.D. is out of the question. If this passes I will have to forgo all care and I don’t see how I will be able to make my rent! This is a nightmare for me, it is causing me such stress that it is almost unbearable.

I don’t know what I’m going to do, there is a good chance this will make me homeless if it passes.

In MyBarackObamaTax, Marcy lays out what the costs will be for a family of four if they have to absorb the cost of a serious illness. Paying out 21%-23% of the family income in health care costs is not anyone’s definition of “affordable.”

It’s extremely arrogant of those who drove the health care negotiations to give away everything to private corporations, hand over all the power to Joe Lieberman by taking reconciliation off the table, then tell everyone that this is the “best we can do” and claim that failure to pass this bill will have a negative political consequences.

They should’ve thought of that when they gave the farm away in the first place.

Saying that it’s imperative to pass any health care bill because it helps some people ignores those that it hurts — while insurance company stocks jump. But that’s what happens when “stakeholders” get to carve up the health care bill first and foremost, while the people it’s meant to help are secondary to whatever Aetna wants.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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