Written by Josh Lucker Monday, 26 May 2008 05:15
As is often the case when an idea for radical change starts to gain widespread support, those in power have been desperately trying to redefine what “universal health care” means. At the forefront of this effort is Hillary Clinton with her “American Health Choices Plan”. However, her “solution” not only does not deal with one of the primary problems in the existing health system – i.e. the blood-sucking insurance companies – it will actually make them billions in profits at the expense of millions of working people.
Hillary’s health care plan in the early-90s was actually much more modest than is generally believed, but even this was too much for the health insurance and pharmaceutical giants, which waged a vicious campaign that led to its defeat. Today, Clinton and her new plan enjoy the full support of these same insurance companies. Any thinking worker should be asking themselves why this is.
Hillary, one of the Senate’s leading recipients of contributions from the health care industry, has put forward a $110 billion plan to reward her contributors that will require all Americans to buy insurance from them. This “public-private partnership,” as she calls it, guarantees the insurance companies business and huge profits. Tax credits will be given to those unable to pay, in essence, subsidizing the insurance industry.
If this sounds somewhat similar to the automotive insurance, you would be right on track. One of Clinton’s advisers actually drew this exact parallel when discussing the health plan with the Associated Press. The fact is that just as with auto insurance (their analogy, not ours), under such a system, many of us will not be able to fork out enough for full, quality coverage.
Both Obama and Edwards immediately came out with statements, both of which read rather similarly, to the effect that they think Hillary’s plan looks quite good, but is nearly identical to theirs. We at Socialist Appeal couldn’t agree more. All of them are extremely similar, and above all, have one thing in common: They retain a major role for the insurance companies. That is, they don’t attack the root of the problem: private ownership of the health care industry.
Not only do we need universal coverage, but we need the same quality care for all. Working people should not be forced to line the insurance companies’ pockets. Instead, we need a socialized national health care system that takes the health insurance companies, the biggest drain on our current system, entirely out of the loop.
Clinton has been clear that her plan is a not a “government-run” plan: “I know my Republican opponents will try to equate this plan with government-run health care. Well don’t let them fool you again.” Well, Mrs. Clinton, don’t worry. We aren’t fooled. You have made your allegiance to the health care industry quite clear.
The Republican presidential candidates, however, have spent quite a lot of time hammering away at Hillary’s plan, as if it were an actual universal health care proposal. According to Rudy Giuliani, for instance: “If you liked Michael Moore’s ‘Sicko,’ you’re going to love HillaryCare 2.0.” We can assure Rudy, who probably never even saw the film, that this is not the case. Hillary’s plan placates the very insurance companies that the majority of Moore’s movie attacks.
The Republicans, however, are not actually responding to Hillary’s plan. They are, in fact, reacting to a broader mood in society that is pushing for genuine change in the health care system. Everyone knows that the existing system is broken beyond repair. What we don’t need is to enforce “individual mandates,” but rather, a collective solution, a universal system that provides quality health care for all as part of an economy democratically planned by working people themselves.