Health Care Lobby Extends Olive Branch to Obama

Six major health care industry lobbies have sent a letter to our “crypto-Marxist” President, laying out a plan, albeit a terribly vague one, to limit health care costs.  AHIP and the other big lobby groups, the same fine folks that informed us of the dangers of universal health coverage in the 1990s, say in the letter that they are formulating plans to cut 1.5% off the growth rate of health care spending.  This amounts to almost 2 trillion dollars over the next decade.

As anyone who reads The Activist knows the health care industry isn’t in the business of philanthropy; it’s in their vested interest to concede ground to and court Obama.  First of all, having 50 million people uninsured is a natural result of our private health insurance system, but it isn’t necessarily beneficial to these companies.  Those one in six Americans are people that are potential consumers for the health care industry.

Also, with 60 Democrats soon to be in the Senate and Obama committed to some type of health care reform, the question this time around isn’t whether or not there is going to be a change in our health care system but rather what kind of change is there going to be.

Remember the last time these same interests came to Washington with a plan?  That was in 2003 when pharmaceutical lobbyists pushed through the innocuously titled “Medicare Modernization Act,” which prevented Medicare from using leverage to control drug prices and insured that private insurers would continue to fleece the American taxpayer.  Bill Tauzin, class warrior and deregulator extraordinaire, pushed through this bill, resigned from Congress, became president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), and played a key role in drafting this new letter to Obama (American democracy in action?).

So the powerful interests of the health care industry want to write another bill, but one that will probably mandate every American to get health industry.  They are aware that the political tides have changed and they have been forced to make some concessions–namely trying to help draft a health care bill instead of block one–but they will put all their considerable leverage behind killing the public insurance option.  Private forces claim that they cannot compete with public insurance and that a dual-plan would morph over time into a virtual single-payer system.

Obviously progressives agree with them–that’s what we’re after. Despite public support it is not likely that single-payer will be able to get much traction, but through our advocacy for single-payer we may be able to bolster support for elements in the Congressional Progressive Caucus that are avowedly committed to only voting for a health reform bill that has a public option in it.  The CPC met with Obama last week and told him something to that effect.  Given the amount of clout that the considerably smaller “Blue Dogs” have been able to throw around Washington in the past months, it’s about time that the CPC made its presence known.

The CPC isn’t a perfect body, but with many of them espousing genuinely left-of-center ideas they are among the few forces on the political scene that do not seem completely wedded to neoliberal orthodoxy and special interests.  Though my preference for a single-payer model and throwing the interests that have plundered working peoples’ bounty and jeopardized their health for too long to the wolves (perhaps literally) cannot be understated, we have to work with the forces we have now, and given the state of the left in America today a public option in a reform bill cannot be construed as anything but a victory.

Be the first to comment

Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump

February 17, 2017 · $20.00 USD

Location: MayDay Space
Where: 176 St Nicholas Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237
When: Friday, February 17th at 6 PM to Sunday, February 19th to 4 PM

Political Context

This Presidents’ Day weekend, the Young Democratic Socialists will gather for our annual winter conference in New York City titled Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump. We did not choose the name lightly. In doing so, we call for leftists to collectively confront Trump and Trumpism at every possible opportunity. When a Trump administration attempts mass deportations of undocumented workers, when it attempts to register Muslims or roll back worker protections, when it attempts to take away reproductive, LGTBQ, civil, or any other rights, then we must militantly resist to prevent such measures.

To succeed, this must be explicitly socialist resistance. With liberalism having repeatedly shown itself incapable of combating the far right, it is now the time for socialists to openly declare our place in building the mass, multi-racial, and working class movement necessary for defeating the Trump administration. In this struggle, millennials will play an outsized role. That is why this conference comes at such a critical time—together we must create spaces for democratic and strategic discussion, spaces to gain organizing skills, and most importantly, spaces to form networks of young radicals for the future struggles ahead. These spaces will only come together if socialists come together. Join us this Presidents Weekend and help ignite the movement to defeat the Trump administration, continue the political revolution, and build the socialist alternative.

Key Deadlines

  • January 8th: Travel Scholarship for Air Travel (for application see below)
  • January 15th: Travel Scholarship for Non-Air Travel (ex: bus, car, train, etc.)
  • February 3rd: Early Bird Registration Ends - Tickets prices go up from $5 to $10
  • February 10th: Free Housing - We have limited free housing. You need to first register, then you will be sent an application for free housing.

Apply for a travel scholarship here! (First Deadline January 8, 2017)

Check out the working program (subject to change)