Why are the for-profit corporate leeches still in charge?

The Washington, DC-based nonpartisan think tank The Commonwealth Fund has a report out evaluating the health care systems of seven major industrialized countries. The study ranks the United States “dead last” in the quality, efficiency, and equity of its health care system, and that Americans pay roughly twice as much for health care as residents of other nations, and get poorer outcomes. What this study highlights is that Americans have been totally screwed - for the decades since the Great Reagan Deregulation - by for-profit health insurance companies. The CEO of United Healthcare, Stephen J. Hemsley, gets over $470 million in compensation for running a company that gets those dollars to give him by saying "No" to customers who want health care. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been diverted from our health care system over the years by for-profit health insurance companies, putting that money into the pockets of wealthy stockholders and top executives and corporate jets, instead of paying for health care for their customers. This study proves irrefutably that even Obamacare, which keeps these for-profit corporate leeches in charge of our health care system, just perpetuates the giant screw of Americans. Other countries that forbid by law for-profit companies from offering basic healthcare insurance have better outcomes and lower costs, but they don't have their versions of Angela Braley and Stephen J. Hemsley sucking blood money out of the system to pay for their mansions and vacations and corporate jets. We need a single-payer health-care system in this country, and it could be done easily and with only 50 votes in the Senate if we just fulfilled LBJ's original vision for Medicare by doing away with the age limit on it and making it available to all people and all employers. I call it Medicare Part E, E for everybody.

Comments

stopgap's picture
stopgap 12 years 32 weeks ago
#1

The simple answer is MONEY! As has been said; "money doesn't talk, it screams". The question should be: How have the corporations convinced Americans that they are better off paying some corporate CEO millions or billions of dollars to deny them health care when they are most likely to most need it?

For a number of reasons, most people have a distrust or resentment of government and of course big corporations exploit this distrust to con the masses. With the help of the "liberal media" or "lamestream" media as the Republican neocons call it, which of course is far from liberal, but really nothing more than corporate newsletters shilling for multinational companies, they are able to influence the opinion of the American public and make them fear any alternative that they do not approve of or control.

I believe that most news media are no longer really operated for profit as their main goal but as corporate newsletters and by having Palin and Fox News (which is to journalism what professional wrestling is to sports) condemn them as liberal, is just part of the "opposite speak" strategy that is much of the Republicans game plan.

NJJoe's picture
NJJoe 12 years 32 weeks ago
#2

NEWARK — The president and chief executive officer of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey received $8.7 million in 2009 in compensation, a 59 percent increase from 2008, a report in the Asbury Park Press said.

And this is a legal "non-profit" company in NJ! If I were a tea bagger, I'd look at this and SHOUT, because B.C.B. Shield of NJ is the largest insurer in NJ, insuring both private and public secter members (police, fireman, teachers, politicians, etc.), meaning, IT IS PAID FOR BY MY TAX DOLLARS!

How is this any less offensive that those Wall Street thieves? This is why our health care system is broken.

johnnybluestar's picture
johnnybluestar 12 years 31 weeks ago
#3

My short answer is 'state of consciousness.' That is why Americans have let corporate entities hold our well-being as a hostage in literally hundreds of area, including health care.

We live in a representative democracy which has great spiritual and ethical potential, but the difficulty with democracy is that it can only really work by having an informed and active citizenry. Yet, in our country, as great as those possibilities are, we are programmed from birth by religious, corporate and political interests that have a personal stake in citizens not being informed and not active.

In religious cults, people are subjected to subtle processes of indoctrination which are intended to increase their suggestibility and compel them to act against their own interest but rather in the interests of their cult masters. I contend that commonplace branding techniques (like endorsing strong identifications with a political party). accepted and exalted ritualistic behavior (like the mindless singing of patriotic songs), mindless repetition of certain core doctrines (like big government is bad), coupled with a culture that endorses mindless conformity and condemns thoughtful discourse hijacks rational consciousness. These processes of corporate and political mind control entrance many people to the degree that they will generally act against their own interest, as exemplified in the acceptance of a non-single payer system, which as noted, is the reverse of the most socially responsible form of health care.

Is someone who has a typical mid-level job in the United States but identifies with the general tone of the Republican party really acting sensibly when he endorses policies that foolishly reward the rich at his expense or deprive him and his family of the security of a home or threaten his life by depriving him of real medical access? No, I don't think so- anymore that Democrats, in similar jobs, who support the currently flawed health initiatives that benefit the insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies at the expense of their well-being. These are not responsible positions- and, if studied, they can be seen as contrary to a decent sense of self-esteem.

But why?

I assert that the normal voter in the United States is generally a victim of corporate and social programming that has successfully short-circuited his or her ability to act or think reasonably in their self-interest. They are living- and voting- in a state of trance- where politically and corporately conditioned ideas have overpowered their normal capacity to reason and act in their self-interest. Instead of a representative democracy, we are really a hypnocracy, controlled by corporate agendas that have stripped our citizens of their own God given rights to life, liberty and happiness and shackled their minds to cast their ballots not as free men and women, but as citizen robots.

One can only thank God that there are a few deprogrammers like Thom Hartmann to at least try to head off some of the corporate hypnotists at the pass and safeguard at least to some extent that tiny eternal flame of the real consciousness that still empowers those who truly love and believe in true American ideals.

tmoney13's picture
tmoney13 12 years 31 weeks ago
#4

"The study ranks the United States “dead last” in the quality, efficiency, and equity of its health care system, and that Americans pay roughly twice as much for health care as residents of other nations, and get poorer outcomes. " - Did anyone actually read the study? Are you aware that we came in "dead" last in comparing only 6 other nations? Netherlands, Germany, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand were the nations we were compared against.

GreenMule's picture
GreenMule 12 years 31 weeks ago
#5

Those members of the House, Senate, and Judicial Systems are allowed to perform as Middle Men between the people and the city, state, and federal governments. These elected Middle Men immediately forsake their allegiance to the people's wishes to become the lackeys of the for-profit corporate leeches. Whenever the majority of people want and need, i.e., Health Care Legislation, the Middle Men step in to create all forms of denial. A State may sporadically and selectively allow voting on a Referendum. However, the voters have been dumbed-down to limited their participation in government to the elections of their alleged representatives in the campaign process. Now then, what are the voters to do when these Middle Men create laws which legitimizes their stagnant policies against the betterment of the voters? They can immediately do nothing, because the Middle Men have made it illegal for the voters not to accept their poor conditions in this country.

Captain Hiltz's picture
Captain Hiltz 12 years 31 weeks ago
#6

I agree with JohnnnyBluestar, indoctrination is a big part of the problem. We often think of the 1950's as the golden time in this country but if you look back white, middle class people were "Ozzie and Harrieted". Everyone was expected to act, speak and dress in a certain way. Plus America to many people was white middle and wealthy class. The poor and non whites just didn't really exist in the media. Thats where the whole rock-n-roll and rebellion idea came from. Even in the late 60's and early 70's, the media tried to sanitize us again with the Brady Bunch. The other problem is as long as lobbying is allowed, we can't defeat the big corporations or the wealthy individuals. We do have some in Congress (one of my favorite butt kickers is Al Frankin from my home state) who don't play the game but we have some like Mitch McConnell for example, who blatantly play along.

I would love to see the parties disolve and candidates just run as individuals. Campaigning needs to be simplified (there's the understatement of the decade). For local and Congressional elections, each state could have a central website that would either list the links to individual candidate's websites or have each candidate listed on the central site. Each candidate's listing or website would give personal information, what they plan to do and don't plan to do while in office. No tv or radio ads, no billboards that cost millions of dollars. Emphisize that these people are PUBLIC SERVANTS and not rock stars. I think we all have to admit that about 99% of political ads range from just boring and lame to dangerously mis informing. I personally haven't watch or listened to a political ad in years. My favorite tv remote button that time of the year is the mute. These ads go back to original idea in that its a form of indoctrination. Some of us may be naturally disposed to brain washing but I believe most of us can still think for ourselves. We all need to bring up the subject in public discussion to begin working on snapping people out this robotic way of thinking. The powers that be can be pushed back. They fear we will shut off the money spigot. With all that has happened over the last two years, namely the Wall Street crisis and the Gulf crisis, we are at a very oportune time to remove the veil from in front of our fellow Americans. Many still distrust the government but I believe many more have come to realize that giant corporations have been doing the real damage to this country for some time. We are at a tipping point for the first time since maybe the 60's where the establishment can be pushed back into it's place. The real question is however, can we finally keep it in it's place or even remove it all together this time.

johnnybluestar's picture
johnnybluestar 12 years 31 weeks ago
#7

A few comments to the Captain.

"Some of us may be naturally disposed to brain washing but I believe most of us can still think for ourselves."

I don't think most 'of us' still think for ourselves. I think it's a minority. Otherwise, we would not be where we are now.

"We all need to bring up the subject in public discussion to begin working on snapping people out this robotic way of thinking. The powers that be can be pushed back. They fear we will shut off the money spigot. With all that has happened over the last two years, namely the Wall Street crisis and the Gulf crisis, we are at a very oportune time to remove the veil from in front of our fellow Americans."

I agree this is an opportune time to capitalize on the obvious untrustworthiness of predatory corporations- but I think it would take an aggressive, grass-roots movement to do so. I hate to think that Americans should have to learn about grass-roots movements in an age of New Media, but they should.

"Many still distrust the government but I believe many more have come to realize that giant corporations have been doing the real damage to this country for some time. We are at a tipping point for the first time since maybe the 60's where the establishment can be pushed back into it's place."

The dangers that oligopolistic capitalism has done to American citizens and other countries has been very clear for years. Yes, more people will probably open their eyes now, but I suggest it would take more than a talk show conversation or a cool panel on C-Span to rein in the Tyranosaurus Oligopolus we have created. The Supreme Court recently gave corporations the right to throw money all over the body politick now, a great tool for quashing the smaller voices crying for compassion and sanity.

Paul Novak's picture
Paul Novak 12 years 31 weeks ago
#8

It IS about money. You cannot manage basic mandatory needs with the one size fits all free market approach. With health care, it is not "whatever the market will bear". When you apply such prinicples to things like food, energy, health care, you get what we have now; an unsustainable drain on the biggest economic driver of the economy, the middle class.

http://writingfourmylife.com/blog/2010/03/24/why-we-needed-reform/

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