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Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...


What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.

"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Single-payer universal health care--- what is the compromise?

This was in the Progressive Democrats of America’s newsletter:

“We've just returned home from Washington D.C., where we attended a national conference with the leaders of other organizations working to pass H.R. 676 or some form of single-payer healthcare.”

The important point here is: “or some form of single-payer healthcare.”

I have repeatedly asked each of the groups named as part of this coalition if the “Minnesota Health Act” is single-payer universal health care. I asked the national Physicians for a National Health Program to declare whether the “Minnesota Health Act” constitutes their idea of single-payer universal health care.

I also put the same question to the Progressive Democrats of America.

After all, we have a right to know what those bargaining with Barack Obama over this health care issue have in mind.

All of these organizations have refused to answer this very simple question.

Even the Minnesota Green Party joined the Democrats in declaring they are for the “Minnesota Health Act;” even though anyone who takes the time to read the “Minnesota Health Act” readily finds that this is nothing more than a scheme to put a greater share of health care costs onto the backs of the working class while removing some of the burden of health care costs from middle class professionals and small and large business.

Since being challenged that the “Minnesota Health Act” is not single-payer universal health care, most of the supporters--- with the exception of the Green Party--- have dropped single-payer universal health care from their description of the “Minnesota Health Act;” acknowledging that it is merely a “cost saving” piece of legislation, but, again, no mention of who will be saving the 5% to 20% depending on who you ask.

Many of the organizations part of this “coalition,” which includes the Progressive Democrats of America, are still talking in terms of “affordable universal health care.”

As we are in the throes of a severe economic depression, one has to wonder what is affordable, and to whom, when millions of people are losing their homes to foreclosure, millions more are in default on student loans, millions can't afford the cost of heating the homes they still have for who knows how long, as millions join the ranks of the unemployed as entire industries are going bankrupt.

Really, one has to ask these "do-gooders" what is meant by "affordable" since they are not honest enough to say; and apparently too ashamed to answer when asked since their answers usually come in the form of name-calling usually expected only of the most reactionary members of the "ultra-right."

Again, from the Progressive Democrats of America web site, “All of these organizations of approximately sixty people representing over a dozen organizations and three members of Congress were in attendance. The agenda included a political overview, developing a legislative strategy, and alliance-building discussions. Among the represented groups were Healthcare-NOW!, the AFL-CIO, All Unions Committee for Single-Payer, American Medical Students Association, Rep. John Conyers, and aides from the offices of Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Dennis Kucinich.”

It would be nice if at some point the rest of the country could read just what these discussions consisted of; assuming the strategy is not secret.

I doubt any of these organizations have done the kind of canvassing we did in Roseau County, Minnesota to find out what people really want in the way of health care reform before we put together the resolution which unanimously passed the Roseau County DFL Convention which defined single-payer universal health care as:

“No-fee/no premium, comprehensive (pre-natal to grave), all-inclusive (eye, dental, mental health, physical therapy, prescription drugs) single-payer universal health care; publicly funded and publicly administered.”

The delegates to the Roseau County MNDFL Convention clearly stated that publicly funded meant in a manner like social security with profit gouging insurance companies and HMO’s completely removed from the picture.

A resolution in support of single-payer universal health care passed the MN DFL state convention in 2006; approved by 72% of the delegates… immediately, the DFL leadership went into a mode of denial… sending Amy “Republican Lite” Klobuchar out to try to head off the grassroots rallying around this by saying she did not support the resolution… then Senator John Marty, known as the friend of middle class professionals and university intellectuals together with small business ramped up support for his scheme: the Minnesota Health Act and with no shame tried to pawn this reactionary piece of legislation which would merely make the State of Minnesota the bill collector for greedy, profit-motivated doctors, HMO’s, hospitals, nursing homes, rehab centers and pharmaceutical companies.

In fact, the Minnesota DFL until just recently only put on their website the fact that the DFL has a plank supporting single-payer universal health care in its “Action Agenda” which politicians and candidates say they pretty much ignore. But, the DFL also posted to its “Action Agenda” support for “affordable” health care which is a complete contradiction to single-payer universal health care.

When I asked those supporting this legislation if they had read the legislation, they ALL (with ONE Single exception) replied “NO.”

When I asked them why they had not read the legislation they all said: “It was too difficult to understand.”

When I asked them why they would support a piece of legislation they had not read, most all said, “Because the gurus of single-payer universal health care say it is what we need.”

Mind you, the Progressive Democrats for America now trot out Representative John Conyers as their guru on health care reform… this is the same Congressman Conyers who publicly proclaimed--- without any shame--- upon being asked if he had read the Patriot Act before supporting it, said, “No.”

This is the same Congressman Conyers who traversed the country talking about the need to impeach Bush and Cheney, then had Cindy Sheehan arrested when she paid him a visit at his office to discuss what concrete steps he intended to take when the election gave Democrats a majority in the House and Senate.

It is interesting to note, that all of the dozen or so organizations that have come together, all operate under the umbrella of the Democratic Party and in Minnesota, the Green Party generally acquiesce to the Democrats the way the Democrats have acquiesced to the Republicans.

As we all know, people for “change” who backed Barack Obama thinking he was sincere who were first told they had to leave their signs for “single-payer universal health care” outside the rallies for Obama as their price for admission, now find that even the more “progressive” voices in the Democratic Party are beginning to buckle in their support for single-payer universal health care by cleverly stating “we attended a national conference with the leaders of other organizations working to pass H.R. 676 or some form of single-payer healthcare.” With “or” being the all important word.

We have to ask, “What is there in H.R. 676 they would agree to drop as a compromise in health care reform?”

What exactly is the “or some form of single-payer healthcare” they would be agreeable to?

We know in Minnesota the advocates of single-payer universal health care are willing to accept the Minnesota Health Act as “the compromise” in health care reform… and for a long period of time they were willing (some apparently still are) to call this bogus scheme “single-payer universal health care.” So, this question really does need to be answered though I doubt that it will.

Instead of being bailed out of this health care mess, the American people, in addition to carrying the burden of this economic depression by bailing out Wall Street, will now find themselves bailing out the American profit-gouging medical establishment.

It is far too much to expect from people who support a piece of legislation without reading it that they will read Karl Marx to understand what is happening in our country--- with health care or anything else… it is far easier to call names, spread lies and refuse to discuss these issues. Once again, we see where it is the great “liberals” in Hubert Humphrey tradition, who try to conceal their scheming and scamming behind anti-communist bigotry at the very time there is a pressing need to organize a united people’s front to push forward a much needed people’s progressive agenda for real social and economic justice centered around a call for peace to put an end to these dirty oil and dope wars.

Barack Obama and his Clinton-Republican baggage coming in under the guise of bi-partisan unity are using the health care issue as the issue to drive a wedge between progressives. If real liberals, progressives and the left are going to have any influence at all on the thoroughly reactionary plans of Barack Obama we are going to have to stand firm in defense of single-payer universal health care by refusing to budge and acquiesce to anything less than H.R. 676 when it comes to health care reform.

Look, the American people have spoken at the polls two times now. In 2006 and now in 2008 we voted to toss out of office the Clintons and the Republicans… the call was for “change;” and, here, we have Barack Obama bringing everyone the American people tossed out in through the back-door to make policy and for the explicit purpose of undermining the kind of real change people were expecting when they cast their ballots.

Single-payer universal health care is going to be the first victim; the rest will come.

There has been no recognition by Barack Obama and the Democratic Party of the overwhelming majority of progressive voters who gave him a mandate for “change” which includes the redistribution of wealth to finance legislation creating social programs for single-payer universal health care.

There is no compromise when it comes to health care reform; the American people, the overwhelming vast majority, have spoken in favor of "single-payer universal health care" and no organizations or individuals have a right to bargain this away through the flimsy premise of compromise with a flim-flam man and con artist who is preparing to make the working class bear the brunt of the problems of this country which stem from putting profits for a few before people when any thinking person with an ounce of common sense understands that it should be People Before Profits, most especially where health care is concerned.

Once again the wealthy big-business class has been allowed to get off with all the profits, leaving the working class all the problems and ill health.

Alan L. Maki
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763
Phone: 218-386-2432
Cell phone: 651-587-5541
E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net

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