Citizens' Voice is a platform for people-driven news and opinion. Be the opinion leader. Write and submit an 800-word op-ed with a one sentence bio and head shot.
Journalist Naomi Wolf offers some useful guidelines for writing an op-ed - Read More
by Jennifer Slattery
The Supreme Court affirmed Obamacare, and my Democrat friends and family are overjoyed. But when I express my Independent position -- that this is a bad bill, and Medicare for all is what we need -- they dismiss me for not seeing this as a "step in the right direction."
In my view, this enthusiasm for or against the ACA is the most extraordinary example of doublethink gripping the American masses that I have ever seen. This famous Orwellian term for the ability for people to hold two completely contradictory beliefs simultaneously fits both sides of the partisan points of view perfectly, in my opinion.
Republicans denounce this as Socialism, which frankly makes me laugh. It is the exact opposite. “Socialism” defined this way is only afforded to multimillion-dollar banks and companies in this country -- not to the sick. This bill was crafted by “conservatives” decades ago, sticks to the “personal responsibility” mantra social irresponsibility, yet they cry Socialism. Folks, this is the opposite: this is corporatism, and conservatism. It is taking health care out of government sectors and putting it squarely in the private -- exactly what you preach.
The blindness of the died in the wool Dems is just as confounding to me. This bill is not Universal Health Care -- not even close, but that’s the term they’re cheering and flooding the social feeds with. With Obamacare, we will continue to be the only Western nation that allows our health to be treated as a commodity by a private for-profit industry. It is not “step in the right direction” toward universal care to hand the anti-universal health care lobby half a trillion dollars in new subsidies – which it can draw on in turn to lobby to prevent real single payer options from ever emerging. The ACA actually pushes us further away from a public option by making this lobby even more powerful; $380 million in lobbying was spent in the months leading up to its passage alone.
And the mandate tax is obviously the opposite of past Democratic victories for the people, such as social security and Medicare. The wealthy can already afford and have insurance: why are we in favor of penalizing the most needy? Why are Democrats cheering a new forcible tax on the half of America that is the working poor? It is the antithesis of everything that party was supposed to stand for, it shouldn’t. It was written by the Vice President of Wellpoint for crying out loud, don’t hail it in the same breath as Social Security and Medicare!
“Lobbyist out, lobbyist in,” and a “leveraged buyout of Democracy” as Bill Moyers put it in his brilliant coverage of the ACA’s creation:
Obamacare is a bill that is designed to confuse people. It is 2,700 pages long and was written by the health insurance industry. The bill, indeed, is almost identical to the conservative Heritage Foundation's "Romneycare." Is such a similar bill somehow better simply because a Democrat has proposed it? It may indeed be ridiculous that Romney has flip-flopped on his own plan, but is Obama's flip-flop -- offering America a bill that adheres to a Republican, big-business mandate -- any better? I’m baffled. How Democrats can cheer for Romneycare, and privatization of their health care future? How can they call that a “step in the right direction” when its a step in the exact opposite? Its doublethink on both sides of the isle, and it bewilders me to no end.
Democrats quickly switch to chanting the talking point that this bill protects people with pre-existing conditions. Talking points from either party are by nature spin folks, and supporters are not reading the bill and realizing that these supposed protections are a joke. It actually only provides a $100 per day fine from insurance companies -- a fine that they don't even have to pay until after years of litigation. As we've seen, these companies try to stretch out contention over payments until patients are dead. If your condition is serious, say requiring hospitalization or a prescription, which has inflated costs in America – that is, any regimen that costs more than a hundred bucks a day – there is actually no protection for your condition. Corporations have shown in every industry that paying a fine rather than meeting their moral and contractual obligations is always preferable to them.
Michael Moore showed the exact language of this penalty in the bill on Larry King Live during the ACA debate:
I just got back from another doctor’s appointment. I saw a doctor, received a lab test from a specialist, and was provided with antibiotics. The cost out of pocket was nothing, thanks to New York state’s awesome Medicare program. This – Medicare for everyone – is what the nation really needs. It will also save $400 billion (A YEAR!), rather than just give it to the Insurance Industry middlemen in subsidies. Taking the Obama/Romneycare path is madness in comparison, and there is no upside, no excuse.
My last experience with private health insurance - Cigna – in contrast, screwed me left and right. Even though I paid for private insurance, denials of coverage by Cigna drained my savings completely, and left me with thousands in debt still following me today. This is an experience shared, sadly, by millions of Americans – who are already insured by the private insurers who have been handed a golden new business opportunity by Obamacare – to screw the now-uninsured even more.
The difference in these two systems is stark. Every American deserves Medicare-like health care: not to be price-gouged and denied coverage by for-profit corporations.
Health care is not a commodity. It is a human right.
So this is where we find ourselves: we will have to hear, all through this pitiful excuse for an election, Republicans screaming “socialism” at blatant corporatism; and Democrats, in the pockets of health insurance lobbyists, hailing the big-business ideal of health care that will just twist the knife in consumers even more.
For anyone else who doesn't buy political branding as mass hypnosis: you're not alone. Doublethink's success, due to this kind of only two points of view; red vs. blue brainwashing, is the root of our problems in this country.
Until both parties are de-fanged, we will be stuck in this cycle of two-sided deception and deliberate confusion of what the real issues involve to voters. What can you do? Commit to activism, and keep speaking the truth.
:: photo courtesy of 401K 2012 via Creative Commons license ::
Jennifer Slattery is a former private investigator from NYC and a lifelong human rights activist.