Party USA: Statements
No on Obama-care! Healthcare is Our Human Right!
Socialist Party USA
While citizens in most other industrialized nations enjoyed the
benefits of publicly administered healthcare from the aftermath of WW
II forward, Americans have suffered under a healthcare system dominated
by private corporations. For-profit healthcare has produced negative
health outcomes at all levels of the system. More than 48 million
people have no health insurance, 30 million more are underinsured and 6
out of 10 Americans report that they have either delayed or deferred a
necessary medical procedure in the last year. Americans are more than
ready for publicly-run healthcare that guarantees access at all levels
of the system.
Unfortunately, the bill recently passed by the House of
Representatives, The Affordable Healthcare for America Act (HR 3962),
and the proposals being considered by the Senate will not provide the
relief Americans so desperately need. Instead, these reforms were
shaped and, in some cases, authored by the very same private interests
who have spent decades collecting massive profits by restricting access
to care. As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama sensed the growing
public anger about healthcare and scored many popularity points for
promising “universal healthcare coverage.” Once in office, after taking
millions from the healthcare lobby, his rhetoric shifted to the
neoliberal promise of “choice and competition” in healthcare.
The primary problem with HR 3962 and the Senate proposals is that all
of the changes they propose are made within a for-profit system. The
House Bill strips the insurance companies of the right to deny coverage
based on a pre-existing condition. Yet, it de-links the public option
from Medicare reimbursement rates, thereby surrendering
pricing to the private sector. The Bill removes the anti-trust
exemption enjoyed by private insurers. However, it simultaneously
mandates that all Americans carry some form of health insurance,
thereby herding millions into low-coverage high-fee private plans. Each
step in a positive direction is coupled with a restructuring that will
enrich private insurance companies and pharmaceutical makers.
The bills lost further reform credentials as Democrats cut last minute
deals with Republicans. Immigrants were removed from eligibility
for the public option, abortions were written out of the proposal and
Medicare funding was cut. The Medicare cuts are particularly cruel,
since they will reduce an already compromised plan to bare bones
coverage. Some of the cuts will limit private insurance profiteering,
but others will slash necessary items such as exercise programs for
seniors. Overall, these omissions signal that the reforms are not about
providing comprehensive medical coverage, but about political
expediency within the establishment political class. The next round of
negotiations in the Senate is sure to produce even further regressive
measures as campaign-donation driven legislators cut more deals.
What people in this country need is healthcare. It is their right as
human beings. The only way to secure this right is to place the
healthcare system in public hands–-to remove the profit-motive from the
system. Single-payer healthcare, as embodied in House Resolution 676,
would be a positive step in this direction. It would provide
universal access to care to all residents of the United States by
abolishing private health insurance companies. In thirteen clearly
written pages, HR 676 does the things the 1,990 page HR 3962 does not.
Access to care is made universal, a framework is created to make bulk
negotiations with hospitals and doctors and healthcare activists would
be freed to set their sights on making the pharmaceutical industry
public as well.
The Socialist Party USA therefore encourages its members and supporters
to continue their work in the single-payer movement and to pressure
elected representatives to vote “No” on the Senate proposal and,
eventually, on the merged bill. All non-violent forms of protest
should be employed to prevent the passage of this legislation. The
protests should clearly oppose the legislation. We do not want a
stronger public option, we want what is rightfully ours–-unfettered
access to healthcare services.
The passage of the weak and contradictory reform bills threaten to
disgrace the notion that the public sector should play a prominent role
in the administering of healthcare. Resisting the Obama, House and
Senate proposals for reform not only promotes the idea that healthcare
is a human right, it sends the message that people will not allow
private sector campaign contributions to drive politics–-the
satisfaction of our needs as humans should shape legislation.
Access to healthcare is our human right. We must build a movement to
secure this right.
Say no to HR 3962!
Say no to Obama Care!
Yes to single-payer!
Yes to a socialized medical system!