FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Supremes Should Side With the People on Health Care

by Dr. MARGARET FLOWERS and KEVIN ZEESE

Six years after Massachusetts enacted the state version of Obama’s health law, the people of Massachusetts are not happy.  According to a June 11th poll in Massachusetts, 78% of patients say the cost of care in Massachusetts is a serious problem and 63% say it has gotten worse in the last five years.  Patients report longer waits, higher premiums, higher co-pays and are less satisfied with health care. The number of bankruptcies due to medical illness and costs has continued to increase in Massachusetts too.

Despite what the corporate media report, Romney-Care, on which Obama-Care is modeled, is not working.   

Americans want the Supreme Court to find the Obama law unconstitutional. More than two-thirds of Americans hope the Supreme Court will overturn some or all of the 2010 health care law, according to a June 7th New York Times-CBS poll. A mere 24% said they hoped the court “would keep the entire health care law in place.” Forty-one percent of those surveyed said the court should strike down the entire law, and another 27% said the justices should overturn only the individual mandate, the requirement that people purchase private insurance if they are not insured or pay a fine. 

Overturning the entire law may have less of an impact now that three of the nation’s largest insurers, UnitedHealth, Aetna and Humana, say they will continue popular provisions such as allowing young adults under 26 to gain coverage under their parents’ plans and covering preventive care. 

And overturning the law may provide an opportunity to push for a real solution to the ongoing health care crisis, to finally create a national universal and publicly-financed health insurance such as improved Medicare for All. 

Perhaps this time around the nation could have a real debate about proven solutions to the fundamental problems causing the health care crisis. Private for-profit insurance and medical corporations are at the heart of that crisis. It was these corporations that heavily influenced and in some cases wrote the Obama health legislation so that it enhanced their profit margins. 

For example, emails and other documents recently released by congressional investigative committees find that the Obama administration worked closely with the Pharmaceutical industry, agreeing to a back-room deal that protected their profits by opposing the re-importation of prescription medicines at lower prices. Re-importation was something President Obama supported in his 2008 campaign when he criticized the Republicans’ behind-closed-doors deals with Big Pharma.   

Further the White House coordinated their $150 million advertising campaign with major pharmaceutical companies. And nearly $70 million was spent through two Super PACs — political action committees — organized by White House officials. Advocacy groups like Families USA and the unions coordinated their advertising with the White House and Big Pharma too. 

The Obama law will not control costs, provide universal coverage or improve the quality of health care. More and more commentators are recognizing that there is a constitutional way to do so – remove two words “over 65” from the Medicare law.  This would cover every American and be a major step toward improving health outcomes in the United States.  

In an amicus curae brief, we joined 50 doctors to make the case that Congress has already demonstrated it can regulate healthcare markets effectively by implementing single payer systems such as Medicare or the Veterans Health Administration. 

We argued that the mandate was obviously unconstitutional, otherwise Congress could “reform” any failing private industry – whether it be automobiles, coal, pharmaceuticals or any other – by enacting legislation requiring every that American purchase the industry’s goods or services in exchange for some perceived public good the industry provides. As some of the justices noted in oral argument, this would change the relationship between citizen and government. Indeed, forcing the purchase of products is crony capitalism on steroids. 

The brief demonstrates the superior efficiencies of single-payer systems. Only 2% of Medicare’s dollars go to administration and overhead, compared to private insurance which spends 16.7%. Under a single payer system, overall administrative costs would fall from the current 33% of health care spending to less than 5%, saving hundreds of billions of dollars. In fact, studies conducted by the nonpartisan General Accounting Office and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office have consistently concluded that if a national single payer system were implemented in the United States, administrative cost-savings alone would be enough to guarantee universal coverage without increasing overall healthcare spending 

The brief shows that the cost of Medicare has increased more slowly than the cost of health care generally and more slowly than the cost of private insurance. And Medicare is rated highly by senior citizens, who are its primary beneficiaries, 51% of seniors give their health insurance an “excellent” rating. 

Single payer has been supported by super majorities of the American people for more than a decade. This silenced majority of Americans who wanted real universal health care under a national health plan may get another opportunity to push for what they want if the Supreme Court rules with the people and against crony capitalist health care. 

Medicare for all saves lives and saves money. Say ‘No’ to Romney/Obama health care and ‘Yes’ to Medicare for all now. 

Margaret Flowers, a pediatrician, and Kevin Zeese, an attorney, are both are advocates for single payer health care and the co-direct, ItsOurEconomy.US which filed an amicus brief along with Single Payer Action and 50 doctors urging the court to find the mandate unconstitutional.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Obama Said Hillary will Continue His Legacy and Indeed She Will!
Jeffrey St. Clair
She Stoops to Conquer: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Rob Urie
Long Live the Queen of Chaos
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Evolution of Capitalism, Escalation of Imperialism
Margot Kidder
My Fellow Americans: We Are Fools
Phillip Kim et al.
Open Letter to Bernie Sanders from Former Campaign Staffers
Ralph Nader
Hillary’s Convention Con
Lewis Evans
Executing Children Won’t Save the Tiger or the Rhino
Vijay Prashad
The Iraq War: a Story of Deceit
Chris Odinet
It Wasn’t Just the Baton Rouge Police Who Killed Alton Sterling
Brian Cloughley
Could Trump be Good for Peace?
Patrick Timmons
Racism, Freedom of Expression and the Prohibition of Guns at Universities in Texas
Gary Leupp
The Coming Crisis in U.S.-Turkey Relations
Pepe Escobar
Is War Inevitable in the South China Sea?
Norman Pollack
Clinton Incorruptible: An Ideological Contrivance
Robert Fantina
The Time for Third Parties is Now!
Andre Vltchek
Like Trump, Hitler Also Liked His “Small People”
Serge Halimi
Provoking Russia
David Rovics
The Republicans and Democrats Have Now Switched Places
Andrew Stewart
Countering The Nader Baiter Mythology
Rev. William Alberts
“Law and Order:” Code words for White Lives Matter Most
Ron Jacobs
Something Besides Politics for Summer’s End
David Swanson
It’s Not the Economy, Stupid
Erwan Castel
A Faith that Lifts Barricades: The Ukraine Government Bows and the Ultra-Nationalists are Furious
Steve Horn
Did Industry Ties Lead Democratic Party Platform Committee to Nix Fracking Ban?
Robert Fisk
How to Understand the Beheading of a French Priest
Colin Todhunter
Sugar-Coated Lies: How The Food Lobby Destroys Health In The EU
Franklin Lamb
“Don’t Cry For Us Syria … The Truth is We Shall Never Leave You!”
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
The Artistic Representation of War and Peace, Politics and the Global Crisis
Frederick B. Hudson
Well Fed, Bill?
Harvey Wasserman
NY Times Pushes Nukes While Claiming Renewables Fail to Fight Climate Change
Elliot Sperber
Pseudo-Democracy, Reparations, and Actual Democracy
Uri Avnery
The Orange Man: Trump and the Middle East
Marjorie Cohn
The Content of Trump’s Character
Missy Comley Beattie
Pick Your Poison
Kathleen Wallace
Feel the About Turn
Joseph Grosso
Serving The Grid: Urban Planning in New York
John Repp
Real Cooperation with Nations Is the Best Survival Tactic
Binoy Kampmark
The Scourge of Youth Detention: The Northern Territory, Torture, and Australia’s Detention Disease
Kim Nicolini
Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red In It
Cesar Chelala
Gang Violence Rages Across Central America
Tom H. Hastings
Africa/America
Robert Koehler
Slavery, War and Presidential Politics
Charles R. Larson
Review: B. George’s “The Death of Rex Ndongo”
July 28, 2016
Paul Street
Politician Speak at the DNC
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail