RSS Feed for This PostCurrent Article

Reforming for Profits *updated*

(Updated at end of post with excellent video of Dylan Ratigan’s Morning Meeting talking about the administrations “un-American” deals.)

We must have misunderstood. We actually thought the whole point of reforming health care was to help the american people have better, more affordable health care. We thought the promise was:

BARACK OBAMA’S PLAN FOR A HEALTHY AMERICA:
Lowering health care costs and ensuring affordable, high-quality health care for all

We must have missed the fine print that explained the caveat:

ONLY IF THE REFORMS ARE MORE PROFITABLE
FOR THE HEALTH CARE AND INSURANCE INDUSTRIES

Did the American people not get the memo that explained this? Or was our copy of Obama’s plan smudged? The media and politicians must have got the fine print copy. What else would explain why all the politicians and media hacks are morally outraged at seeing townhall anger, but those selfsame politicians and media hacks are apparently not even shocked to learn of this administration’s sell-out backroom deals with the health care industry?

And why the continued, almost obsessive focus on painting protesters as un-American? While these sweetheart deals, that are truly un-American and so beautifully depict why Americans no longer trust their government, are received in blissful willful silence.

From Miles Mogulescu at HuffPo:

The first hint of the real story came when Rahm Emanuel summoned leaders of liberal organizations to the White House and reamed them out for criticizing Blue Dogs who were trying to gut the public option, telling the liberals that they were “f..king stupid” and ordering them to stop

Gutted: The public health care option – bad for health care and insurance industry profits!

The next hint was a New York Times story in which the White House confirmed it had cut a back-room deal with Billy Tauzin, chief lobbyist for Big Pharma, to block any Health Reform bill that would allow Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices. …

Blocked: The negotiation for or importation of lower priced drug – bad for health care and insurance industry profits!

A few days later came Business Week’s cover story entitled “The Health Insurers Have Already Won: How UnitedHealth and rival carriers, maneuvering behind the scenes in Washington, shaped health-care reform for their own benefit”. …

Encouraged: Behind the scenes maneuvers in Washington to shape reform – good for health care and insurance industry profits!

Thursday’s New York Times confirmed Business Week’s analysis, reporting that the White House, in conjunction with Sen. Baucus, has made a deal with hospital lobbyists limiting reductions in hospital costs to $155 billion over 10 years and crippling the public option by agreeing “that the final legislation would not include a government-run health plan paying Medicare rates — generally 80 percent of private sector rates — or controlled by the secretary of health and human services“. According to Chip Kahn, a top industry lobbyist, “We have an agreement with the White House that I’m very confident will be seen all the way through conference”. …

Limited: The reducion of hospital costs – bad for health care and insurance industry profits!

Crippled: A government-run health plan with Medicare rates or controlled by the secretary of health and human services – bad for health care and insurance industry profits!

Which leaves one to wonder what exactly is the point of these town hall meetings with the American people. Why even go through the motions when as the extensively detailed, must read Business Week article on the health insurance giants points out:

… much more of the battle than most people realize is already over. The likely victors are insurance giants such as UnitedHealth Group (UNH), Aetna (AET), and WellPoint (WLP). The carriers have succeeded in redefining the terms of the reform debate to such a degree that no matter what specifics emerge in the voluminous bill Congress may send to President Obama this fall, the insurance industry will emerge more profitable.

And these companies will not just maintain or increase profits, but could very well realize a windfall.

What people in Washington tend not to discuss, at least on the record, is the open secret that insurers are minimizing their forecasts of the eventual windfall they will enjoy from expanded coverage for Americans. UnitedHealth has given certain key members of Congress details about its finances and tax liability—both historical numbers and figures projected under various cost-sharing scenarios. But some on Capitol Hill are skeptical. “The bottom line,” says an aide to the Senate Finance Committee, “is that health reform would lead to increased revenues and profits [for the insurance industry]. … There will be [added] costs [to the companies], but we’re not sure the revenues and profits will be as low as they say.”

So when do we start discussing the fine print of this “reform” honestly. We are not reforming health care for the benefit of the American people. Our government is not interested in providing for the health and well being of the Americans so we can be better functioning members of our society. No, our supposed moral imperative to pass health care reform is to ensure the health and well being of the health care and insurance industries so they can be even more profitable members of our society.

When will the media finally realize, as Miles Mogulescu has that:

…The real story should be about the back room deals reportedly being negotiated between the Obama administration and Blue Dog Democrat Max Baucus, on the one hand, and Big Pharma, for-profit hospitals, and the private insurance industry, on the other hand. This is where the real action is taking place and it’s looking increasingly likely, as a result, that the Health Care bill which ends up emerging from Congress could represent a massive public subsidy to the private health care industry. …

Our government may not be calling this a bailout, but by creating another entitlement to support and protect a few large, for profit, public entities at the expense of the American people it sure sounds eerily similiar to what our government is still doing for Wall Street.

And don’t forget, the powers that be want to “reform” Social Security and Medicare next.

**Update** Somehow I missed this great video from Dylan Ratigan’s Morning meeting.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

  • Pingback: Reforming For Profits II (Greenwald Update) : NO QUARTER

  • CG

    Thank you Linda for your courage. Pretty tough crowd on all sides.

  • Pingback: let’s have a NQ town hall on health care! : NO QUARTER

  • Doc99

    The Huffpo Pharma Memo story has at least one skeptic – Maggie Mahar.

    Yesterday, it seemed that the Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim had a scoop. He reported that Huffington has obtained a memo that “confirms” that the White House and the pharmaceutical lobby secretly made a deal—the deal that I wrote about a few days ago in a post titled “What Was Billy Tauzin Thinking?” According to the memo, the White House supposedly pledged to oppose any Congressional efforts to let Medicare negotiate for discounts on drugs, or to import drugs from Canada.

    The memo in question turns out to be typed—and unsigned. How does the reporter know that it is authentic? “A knowledgeable health care lobbyist” told him so. According to the lobbyist the memo “was prepared by a person directly involved in the negotiations [and it] lists exactly what the White House gave up, and what it got in return.

    Wait a minute. As PhRMA senior vice president Ken Johnson points out later in the story: “Anyone could have written it. Unless it comes from our board of directors, it’s not worth the paper it’s written on. . . .”

    And who is the “knowledgeable lobbyist” who gave the memo to Huffington? His name is not disclosed.

    What we have then, is a story based on what one unnamed source says—and a typed memo that probably is untraceable.

  • Doc99

    The Wizard of Uh’s has done it again. As the Travolta character in “Swordfish” explained: “Misdirection, Stanley. Misdirection.”

  • BARB

    FUNNY AND MORE THAN A LITTLE SAD!

    http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2009/08/
    top-ten-lies-about-my-health-care-plan.html

    Wednesday, August 12, 2009

    Top Ten Lies About My Health Care Plan, by President Barack H. Obama

    10 According to the Congressional Budget Office, under the House bill, in the year 2015 about 8 million uninsured Americans would remain uninsured and pay higher taxes. This would violate my pledge not to raise taxes on anyone earning less than $250,000 per year. Conclusion: The CBO is lying.

    9 The CBO says that the House bill would increase the budget deficit by $239 B over the next ten years. This conflicts with my goal of not increasing short-term deficits. Conclusion: The CBO is lying.

    8 The CBO also says that under the House bill, about 3 million people who now have employer-sponsored health insurance would lose that coverage because their employer drops it, violating my bold promise that no one will lose the health plan they have now. Conclusion: The CBO is lying.

    7 I have repeatedly assured the public that under the proposed health care reforms there will be no “rationing,” and that everyone will continue to receive the best available treatment options. Yet my previous statements and some of my top health care policy advisers have questioned the “sustainability” of expensive major medical procedures for the elderly or the terminally ill. Conclusion: My old self and my advisers were lying.

    6 The CBO states that the House bill would increase long-term budget deficits by ever-increasing amounts, making our long-term debt problem even worse than it is today. This of course conflicts with my contention that “health care reform is entitlement reform,” and that health care reform is the lynchpin of spending within our means. Conclusion: The CBO is lying.

    5 I recently stated that it is “outlandish” to suggest that I favor providing government-run healthcare for the tens of millions of illegal immigrants currently in the US. However, I also said I want healthcare reform done this year, and a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants passed in 2010. Conclusion: I’m lying, but I forget which time it was.

    4 The office of Senator Robert Menendez and La Raza have asserted that illegal immigrants care more about health care reform than ‘amnesty’; that “the useless barriers of citizenship would not be in this bill”; and that “If the American people find out that this bill is about giving health care to non-citizens, they will rise up against it.” Conclusion: Menendez’ office and La Raza are both lying.

    3 The President’s Medicare Commission proposal would probably save about $2 billion over ten years, and a significant concern that it would save no money at all. Conclusion: The CBO is lying.

    2 In my 10 August 2009 “town hall” meeting, I flatly stated that, “I have not said that I am a supporter of a single-payer system.”

    However, an uncut, unedited AFL-CIO video clip from 2003 shows me saying, “I happen to be a proponent of single-payer universal healthcare plan… A single-payer universal healthcare plan – that’s what I’d like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we got to take back the White House, and we got to take back the Senate, and we got to take back the House.” Conclusion: I was misquoted, taken out of context and redacted, but am telling the truth now.

    1 During the campaign, I promised a series of open and honest health care reform debates to be broadcast on CSPAN. I committed that health care reform debates would never be held behind closed doors; that the details would be openly discussed; and that public access to the debate process would ensure that special interests could not influence reform bills. At that time, I believed the American people deserved to know exactly what was to be included in any health care reform legislation voted on by Congress. Conclusion: I was lying then, but I promise that I am telling the truth now.

    I demand that anyone responsible for these lies be held to account!

  • standard

    I’m proud to say that our very own Congressman Weiner hit the nail on the head on Morning Joe.
    Weiner said “Let’s expand MEDICARE for all Americans.”

    Absolutely, hands-down the most brilliant idea yet.

  • tzada

    Why are my requests for an article on the c z a r s being filtered out?

    There are now 44 of them. The ones that are now in line to be filled are.

    Income redistribution
    Land-use
    Mortgage formally “consumer financial protection ”
    Radio-internet fairness
    Student loan , to oversee a program of mandatory service in return for college money
    Voter list
    Zoning

    Am I the only one that is worried about this?

  • tzada

    AARP loses members over health care stance

    WASHINGTON (AP) — About 60,000 senior citizens have quit AARP since July 1 due to the group’s support for a health care overhaul, a spokesman for the organization said Monday.
    The membership loss suggests dissatisfaction on the part of AARP members at a time when many senior citizens are concerned about proposed cuts to Medicare providers to help pay for making health care available for all. But spokesman Drew Nannis said it wasn’t unusual for the powerful, 40 million-strong senior citizens’ lobby to shed members in droves when it’s advocating on a controversial issue.

    AARP is strongly backing a health care overhaul, running ads to support it and hosting President Obama at an online forum recently to promote his agenda to AARP members. However, the group has not endorsed a specific bill and says it won’t support a plan that reduces Medicare benefits.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-08-17-aarp-health-overhaul_N.htm

  • Peggy Sue

    Thanks for the update, Linda. My appraisal? This administration has no balls. They’re willing to pistol whip the American public but when it comes to corporate interests it’s all sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    My advice to the President? Grow a pair! Grow a pair equal to Hillary Clinton’s. Or step the hell down!

    • Choo Choo Magoo

      Ah, hem. Do you think it’s possible?

      • Peggy Sue

        I’m not holding my breath, Choo Choo.

    • NoBamaNoWay

      i think they’ve already got “a pair.” that’s why they like screwing the american people so much. what they need is some integrity and a refresher course on the fact that they work for US, not for the enrichment of themselves and their well-connected fat-cat friends.

  • Diana L. C.

    Thanks for the update, Linda A!

    I was unable to comment the first time your post appeared. This whole thing is just unbelievable to me. It’s like a lesson in how not to do something important.

    I’m wondering, too, if MSNBC would have interviewed a NQ writer if one of them had broken this news. As long as it’s a Huff Po writer, he’s cridible as far as they are concerned. But then I am just jaded about the media.

    You guys at NQ rock!

  • sowsear

    Why has no one been appointed Czar of Medicare and Medicaid? Post vacant since 2006…
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/18/health/policy/18health.html?_r=1&hp

    • Sailor Sam

      Waiting to put Ezekiel Emmanuel in that slot?

    • tzada

      Speaking of czars I wish someone would do an article about this subject. I have tried to post this request several times and I don’t think it made it through the filter.

      There are now 44 of them. The ones that are now in line to be filled are.

      Income redistribution
      Land-use
      Mortgage formally “consumer financial protection czar”
      Radio-internet fairness
      Student loan , to oversee a program of mandatory service in return for college money
      Voter list
      Zoning

      Am I the only one that is worried about this?

  • tzada
  • tzada

    Overhauling health-care system tops agenda at annual meeting of Canada’s doctors

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5jbjzPEY0Y3bvRD335rGu_Z3KXoQw

  • Tammy

    Yeah. Obama is going to give us “free” health care.
    It’s all a big scam and he’s getting money from big Pharma.
    Here’s an ABC special about “free” health care in Canada. It’s only 1 1/2 minutes of the whole show.
    Americans want THIS? I don’t think so…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdGZQAUOM6c

  • DAB

    This compendium of articles is a real eye-opener. Thanks, Linda, for the hard work in putting it together.

  • Ginger

    Here is what is going to happen next:

    The WH is going to turn the whole thing into “them” (insurance companies) against “us” (voters). It will be sorta like…”pay no attention to the insurance companies behind the curtain”…

    The WH cannot get past the angry voters that are turning out in droves at the townhall meets.

    The reason people are so angry is that they are tired of being railroaded. First, it was that it would be “UN-American” if there was so much as raised an eyebrow about going to war. Now, it is “UN-American” to not support healthcare reform.

    • tzada

      Health Reform and the Tenth Amendment

      HR 3200, the so-called health reform bill, in my opinion, is one of the worst pieces of legislation ever to be considered by Congress. It, not only, would lead us down the path of socialism but, in the process, would bankrupt the entire country. I am very happy to see that citizens are showing up at town hall meetings throughout the country and voicing their complaints about the bill and health care reform in general. It is actually quite funny watching Congressmen squirm when the tough questions are asked. And, it is even more interesting when they cannot respond to the tough questions because they have not read the bill or are even familiar with its contents.

      The 10th Admendment

      Ronald Reagan believed in the amendment more than anything else, as did Thomas Jefferson. It simply states in its entirety: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

      http://bighollywood.breitbart.com/fdemartini/2009/08/17/health-reform-and-the-tenth-amendment/

      http://www.therightsideoflife.com/

      • Peggy Sue

        So, the 10th Amendment should bar any and all legislation and/or amendments beyond itself? Including the the 13th, 14th and 19th.

        What about it’s precedent, the 9th Amendment specifically, uninumerated rights:

        “This term alternatively, is used loosely to mean any perceived rights, often considered peremptory or intuitively fiat (such as God-given rights innate to each individual or inherent to mankind),[1] that are without expression or instance of articulation & without consideration of the necessity to their existence extrapolated from the logical unity of other positive rights.”

        The right to life? The right to the general welfare?

        The true beauty of the American Constitution is that is is a breathing and living document. Our Founding Fathers had the genius to know that in 1789.

        Don’t limit what they created and shed blood for.

  • Benjamin

    I’ve got one word to describe our current WH and Congress: tyranny!

  • proud mobster

    Obama says if you don’t get a Colonoscopy you are likely to get Prostate Cancer duhhhhh. Obama doesn’t know what he’s selling he just gets out there and sells. There is a future for him in infomercials.

    • Clara

      Obama has been a snake oil salesman for years. He has no business talking about medical conditions about which he knows nothing.

  • apishapa

    When will the media finally realize

    They know. They are in on it. Many media executives are on the boards of health Insurance Companies or Hospitals. Why do you think media refuses to ever discuss Medicare for all? They and Obama and their bought congresspeople have been playing Americans for fools. And they are mad because some of us knew the game all the time.

    • NoBamaNoWay

      the moneyed interests (which certainly includes the MSM) BOUGHT the presidency and installed their tool to do their bidding. of course they’re going to wrap this pile of shit up with a pretty pink bow and tell the american people it’s a great victory for them.

  • WMCB

    So let’s see…. no cheap public option, no insurance competition across state lines (they are killing that too), but there will be mandates on employers and individuals to force you to buy insurance.

    Gee, America, can you say “Sheep handily penned up to be feasted upon?” United Health and others are already planning on big stock sales and massive windfall profits.

    • trixta

      Also, don’t forget that employer health insurance will be taxed as income.

    • NoBamaNoWay

      that’s what it looks like, alright.

  • http:/psychobabbleandpotpourri.blogspot.com/ Mary

    Hope I’m not being redundant here..apologies if so…AP is reporting that the Messiah is getting ready to “drop the public option.”

    Somehow, the bots will spin to a victory….but, well, we know! ;)

    • proud mobster

      Update — Obama is now not ready to cut the Public Option. Kathleen Sabilius has said she misspoke.

      • jwrjr

        More likely Ozero is negotiating even now to cut out the “public option” and just wants us to back off until he can present a fait accompli.

    • proud mobster

      Its all a game. While our economy is in freefall Obama cuts his private deals on Healthcare. How many jobs were created -0- Foreclosures still at a record high. But now as of late this evening — the public option is back in. What a load of cods wollop this is.

  • Peggy Sue

    The spam monster ate my post, Linda. I’ve sent the requisite email.

  • http://www.hillaryorbust.com Hillary or Bust

    Most Obamabots waking up at HuffPo:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-brenner/the-health-care-reform-de_b_258893.html

    One writes:

    “This is not about blame, it is about an emerging pattern that suggests that Campaign Obama is not the same as President Obama. Maybe it is lack of experience, or maybe it is bad advisors, but the difference between Campaign Obama and President Obama is too striking to ignore. No one in their right mind thinks he is responsible for our current woes. People are just upset that Obama swaggered during the campaign in front of audiences who were weary of being bullied on every front –Bush, Cheney, financial institutions, health care, evangelicals, conservatives, etc. — but then caved when he got the job.”

    Hello, WE TOLD YOU SO! PUMAS WERE RIGHT!

    • catherine

      “No one in their right mind thinks he is responsible for our current woes.” WHAAAT?! LOL.

      These chumps are still drinking the koolaid but they’re now in the denial stage. Heh, wait til’ the angry stage sets in.

      • Cat in NJ

        There are many who will never believe Obama really is the Supreme Stooge in the Axis of Evil in this country … we all know a few. However, it is refreshing to see some O supporters coming to their senses after quite the kool-aid intoxication.

        • lorac

          I’m still waiting for their apology, though.

          Not only did they get us into this mess, but many of them participated in the cheating, and they treated us all horribly. I think they must certainly have a lot of penance to do….

          • Jules

            I’m still waiting for their apology, though.

            I think all Obama voters should pay reparations to the rest of us for all of the damage this idiot has caused and will cause. That’s what I’ll be waiting for.

    • jbjd

      See, they are still making excuses for him. Even if everything else they say is true, bottom line, if he capitulated under pressure, he was not up to the job. They said so; they just cannot hear what they are saying.

      • http://www.hillaryorbust.com Hillary or Bust

        Most of them are starting to turn, though some of them are still giving some pretty lame excuses.

        One said the typical “It’s only 7 months” line.

        The frutiest: A woman who has some nutty idea that Obama has been threatened behind the scenes because he’s the first black president, and that’s why he’s acting this way.

        No, dear, he was ALWAYS a puppet. Just a standard, bought and sold, Manchurian Candidate.

        Geez.

        • NoBamaNoWay

          pretty much. he has been a tool since day one.

          • OhioMary

            He is treating us no different than he treated his constituants in Chicago who lived in those tenements. He sold them out to Rezco to fix them up so he could have help with his Chicago mansion. He was living high on the hog and those poor people were freezing in the winter, no a/c in the summer and having sewage backing up in their plumbing.

            Remember the story about the iron gate that killed that child because it was never repaired. It is my understanding that was in his District.

            He won’t be happy until he turns America into a third world country.

            Why people couldn’t see what he was going to do is beyond me. He and his wife are only going to look out for themselves with paybacks to those who put them where they are.

            The news media should be ashamed of themselves for protecting them and not reporting the truth to the American people.

            If he were truly concerned about the American taxpayer, why would he and Congress insist on giving free health care to illegals.

            Good article Linda, but you sure got my blood pressure going this am.

            • Lisabona

              OhioMary, you are right.I didn’t forget that little 3 year old boy. That is the real truth about 0bama, as you said, he won’t stop till the end of his planes.

        • inconsiderable wretch

          Hillary or Bust: Yes, ALWAYS a puppet! And from another angle, a pawn in the hands of the of the rich and powerful who bought him the presidency; a tool in the hands of the corporate proto-fascists, etc.

          • Carmen

            Speaking of a puppet. Why did she give up her senate seat to be a Obama bootlicker? She and Bill are part of the plan too, dont be fooled! Bust America equality for all. One world government (where they of course will live in the lap of luxery).
            From each according to their ability, to each according to their need!

    • J.J. (The PUMA)

      What a wonderful way to enjoy my morning cup of coffee: reading the comments over at Huff Post ripping each other apart.

    • Denise

      Absolutely, you are sooo right! We saw it, why didn’t the bots? It was the biggest snow job! I have also noticed huffposters seeing the truth, a little late though.

  • Peggy Sue

    The betrayal of the American people must have been in the fine print, Linda, down in the footnotes that read: Barack Obama, bought and paid for the powers that be [and that sure ain't the Government anymore].

    These pols have sold their own souls and now they’re hell-bent on selling ours and all future generations.

    Thirty pieces of silver! I hope they’re happy and rot in Hell!

    As for your neighbor, Touchet, who thinks she’ll be getting free health care? That will be delivered on once we get our ponies, our mortgages paid off and free gasoline at the pumps.

    Are the Obamatrons feeling punked yet?? Or still making excuses.

    Yes We Can be used and made complete and utter fools of. Like our Nanas once told us: when it sounds too good to be true, it always, always is.

    • felizarte

      I think that more light should be shone on Rahm Emmanuel. He acts like the real godfather and enforcer all rolled into one. He is the one with the agenda from the days of the primaries. He is like Richardson who “made his bones” in the Clinton administration then nimbly turned to stab Bill and Hillary, front, back and every which way.

      • Ellen

        he never stabbed hillary or bill in the back or anywhere else. he supported Hillary totally until Obama got the nomination – said he was sort of on the fence, but would NOT support Obama throughout the primaries.

        get your information straight before you spout off like the ill-informed obama-hater you are.

        • CG

          talk about ill-informed…

          Richardson, who dropped out of the Democratic race in January, is to appear with Obama on Friday at a campaign event in Portland, Ore., The Associated Press has learned.

          Hell yes Richardson stabbed the Clinton’s in the back big time.

          get your information straight before you spout off that Richardson waited until Obama got the nomination, unless you freakin’ believe that Obama won the nomination in March 2008.

  • Touchet

    I can’t wait. My neighboor thinks she will recieve free health and be “able to pay off some bills with the extra money.”. LOL! She makes 66,000 a year in podunk Alabama. I told her you will be most likely paying MORE than you are now. She seriously thinks that she will Not have to pay anything at ALL for it.

    I asked her where she got that from, and she couldn’t answer me! She thinks that it will be totally free, but no where has anyone of these politicians said anything concrete about who will pay what and what the rules of payment are.

    I think this bill, if it does pass, will be abolished or withdrawn when people vote Obama out after that first pay check where they actually have to pay money for it.

    It should be interesting to say the least.

    • felizarte

      We should take note of all the legislators who would vote for this monstrosity and make sure to vote against them!

      • jbjd

        ‘From your mouth to God’s ear.’

    • Kathy

      But if this doesn’t go into effect until 2013 as I’ve heard, Obama will be back in office before the you-know-what hits the fan!

  • felizarte

    Sickening! Just sickening. The government is now controlled by everyone who has figured out a way to suck money out of taxpayers. It is no longer a “government of the people, by the people and for the people”.