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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...

http://peaceandsocialjustice.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-progressive-program-for-real-change.html


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...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Health Insurance Industry Bailout and Profit Maximization Act of 2010


The “Health Insurance Industry Bailout and Profit Maximization Act of 2010” is tantamount to the doctor killing the patient. The American people are entitled to more.



Dear friends,

I am sorry I have to send out this mass response to everyone writing me about the Open Letter I sent to Dr. Quentin Young of PNHP but it will be impossible to answer everyone personally in an appropriate manner. I will answer all the letters I have received so far--- about two-thousand.

Thank you for responding with your thoughts and ideas to the “open letter” to Dr. Quentin Young of PNHP I sent out.

Some people thought I was too hard on Dr. Young… one letter writer said I was “brutal.”

I did not write my letter to attack Dr. Young; but, rather, to raise some questions and concerns about this entire healthcare fiasco. Everyone can judge for themselves how successfully I did this.

The letter went to about 12,000 people, mostly in the great lakes region… please feel free to circulate it widely since this letter is serving a dual purpose: 1.) Acknowledging I received your e-mail/phone, and 2.) Providing a copy of the letter to those who have not received it.

I understand some of the views I am expressing are somewhat controversial and contentious but I am not trying to impose these views on anyone--- I offer them in the interest of discussion and dialog.

Many of the letters I have had a chance to look at so far are full of ideas ranging from all kinds of protests actions like refusing to participate in the mandatory aspects of this legislation to voting all these people out of office--- some have expressed a “ready for revolution” theme; others, “Let’s take over the Democratic Party.”

I have a couple added thoughts and questions:

--- Do you think it is possible to begin to organize some kind of national alternative to the Democratic Party?

--- Is single-payer being the best solution or is it a step towards the very best solution: socialized healthcare?

--- Many people are suggesting we should just go all out for socialized healthcare; thoughts?

--- I doubt HR 676 is going to be revived by Conyers; so, shouldn’t a new movement emerge out of this with the intent of strengthening HR 676? It’s “premiums” are way too--- far higher than what people pay in Canada. For another, HR 676 doesn’t seek an expansion of public healthcare in this country… the movement is going to have to get away from this support for “private delivery” of healthcare if we are going to expand the healthcare reform movement to its limits. Your thoughts on this?

Also, you probably noticed that this “coalition” pulled together by the Campaign for America’s Future at the instruction and behest of the AFL-CIO for the explicit purpose of undermining and subverting the single-payer movement brought together all the leaders of organizations whose very members were on record supporting single-payer;  is it time to try to bring all these people--- the members of these organizations--- into some kind of very broad coalition on a grassroots and rank-and-file basis? I kind of think the days of getting a bunch of “leaders” to put their names on a statement has run its course and we need to be looking to build an organization from the ground up where the name of the “average Joe/Jane” means more than a Rich Trumka. Your thoughts?

I have told Margaret Flowers, Cindy Sheehan and Cynthia McKinney they should go away together for a weekend and see if they can’t come out with plans to head up a real campaign of grassroots and rank-and-file activists speaking specifically to what the American people voted for in the last election:

Peace, Healthcare, Jobs with enforcement of affirmative action enforcement.

Quite frankly, I doubt any of these issues standing alone is sufficient for any kind of movement capable of winning change; but, liberals and left at a grassroots/rank-and-file level united around these issues creates a very powerful progressive force and movement that can engage in the kind of activities you suggest, take the struggles into the streets and into places of work and the schools, and into the voting booth. Your thoughts on this?

I think there are some people who do not understand just how powerful liberals and the left at a grassroots/rank-and-file level working in unity around this kind of progressive agenda can be.

The word “progressive” is tossed around quite freely these days and I hate to even use it anymore because of the misunderstandings around the word; but, when liberals and the left come together into a working relationship a progressive agenda is developed where liberals don’t always agree with those on the left who think in terms of getting rid of capitalism while liberals generally think some reforms will be good enough. It looks to me like there is now enough of a consensus on the part of the American people who want peace, healthcare and jobs with the understanding affirmative action is going to have to be enforced if discrimination I employment is going to be eradicated.

Voting green is one point I disagree with many of you on although I often vote green and support individual green candidates. But, it has been my experience that the Green Party has really mired itself in the world of the middle class, as opposed to the working class. Some greens refer to themselves as “watermelons: green on the outside and red on the inside;” I kind of think that kind of thinking should be the basis for a broad-based progressive political party that focuses on the problems of working people because in general, when we solve the problems of working people we are making life better for everyone since it is mostly “universal” programs which would not be denied to anyone that solves problems of working people.

Quite frankly; personally, my idea of what is required in electoral politics is along the lines of the old Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party which was preparing to go national at the time of Minnesota’s socialist governor Floyd Olson’s untimely death… I would encourage you to check out this movement--- quite a bit comes up in a google search… besides Olson, there was Elmer Benson (U.S. Senator and Minnesota Governor) and John Bernard (U.S. Congressman) to name a few. For too long the history of this powerful movement has been suppressed and those who won’t take the time to look into this history are probably short-changing themselves in the long run.

Finally, I want to call your attention to the best book I have ever read about the most powerful movement in this country that was ever developed and spun off union organizing and the civil rights movement and created the basis for the modern peace movement… you can obtain this book at various prices ranging from a few dollars to $85.00 or get it free through you public library’s inter-library loan system. The book is, “The People’s Front” by Earl Browder, recognized as the architect of the movement which won the New Deal reforms. The “people’s front” is what you get as a progressive coalition when liberals and leftists agree to work together for social change… this has proven itself time and time again to be the only way working people achieve real, meaningful change.

Again, I am sorry I had to respond for the time-being with a general letter like this; I will respond to each and every letter I have received as I get time.

Feel free to express whatever views/suggestions/criticism you have about this.

Again, I place the open letter to Dr. Quentin Young--- along with his original letter I responded to--- below for those who called or e-mailed who had not received it.

I will be placing all of this on my blog with a link on my facebook page and you are welcome to comment. If you are not on my “friends list” just search “Alan Maki” and look for my picture with a Chocolate Lab.

Thanks, also, for telling me about all of my spelling and grammar errors--- and, no, I don’t make these mistakes to find out if people are reading what I write.

The American people are talking; let’s keep people talking about healthcare; it’s a prerequisite for action.

Thanks for your responses,

Alan



An Open Letter to Dr. Quentin Young and PNHP---

From Alan L. Maki--- Founder, Minnesotans for Peace and Social Justice

Dr. Quentin Young, Physicians for a National Health Program ;

Please let me begin by stating that those of us in Minnesota (liberal and left grassroots and rank-and-file activists inside and outside the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party who come together as progressives for real healthcare reform along what was advocated by the old socialist Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party of Floyd B. Olson, Elmer Benson and John Bernard which was torn asunder by the anti-communism initiated by Hubert H. Humphrey wielding the Communist Control Act of 1954) who have supported single-payer universal healthcare as a first step towards socialized healthcare, are at one and the same time: supportive, disappointed and dismayed with you and your organization--- PNHP; and, the position you have taken regarding healthcare that has both awakened the American people for the need for healthcare reform and pointed the general way we need to be moving towards a single-payer universal healthcare system best reflected by the Canadian example which was the compromise reached with a reactionary Canadian government then dominated by the reactionary Liberal and Conservative parties after the great Socialist leader Tommy Douglas and the Communist Dr. Norman Bethune launched the movement for socialized healthcare in Canada--- or, as the great working class leader Tim Buck, and head of the Communist Party of Canada, used to say, National Public Healthcare.

We think it is wrong that PNHP has continued to push single-payer universal healthcare as the main solution since single-payer is only one very small initial step on the road to socialized healthcare.

You and your organization continue to peddle the myth that the American people insist of “freedom of choice” and “private delivery of healthcare” which weakens the movement for real healthcare reform in this country because most people are satisfied just to have access to qualified doctors and other healthcare specialists to keep them healthy and get them well when sick.

Healthcare is a human right; not a “civil right” as some associated with PNHP are now claiming.

As a “human right” people are entitled to healthcare without any attached prerequisites of “affordability;” you need health services, you walk in and get those services required--- no questions, no fees.

Here in Roseau County, Minnesota we have articulated very simply what people living here in the wealthiest country in the world are entitled to by birth in the way of healthcare:

“No-fee/no-premium, comprehensive, all-inclusive, pre-natal to grave universal healthcare; publicly funded, publicly administered and publicly delivered.”

 PNHP makes the claim that only single-payer universal healthcare has been “kept off the table;” when, in fact, socialized healthcare has been left off the table, too.

Now is the time to kill this reactionary and regressive piece of legislation being put forward by Barack Obama and the Democrats. Let me remind you that you were a part of these “progressives for Obama” who helped dupe the people of this country into believing that Obama was something that he is not--- a friend of the people. You used your prestige as an advocate for single-payer universal healthcare to do this. We aren’t going to belabor this point at this late hour; sufficient is it to note this fact. True, you didn’t bully and badger as your buddies Carl Davidson and Tom Hayden did; but, still you helped create the “myth” of Obama being liberal or progressive in the eyes of many people. Well, now we all know just what Barack Obama is: a worthless warmonger who would rather dole out our tax-dollars to the military-financial-industrial complex fighting dirty wars in three countries while funding over 800 U.S. foreign military bases dotting the globe and keeping the Israeli killing machine rolling in carrying out its pogroms against the Palestinian people instead of creating a public healthcare system comprising 800 healthcare centers which would serve as the beginning of a public healthcare system which would eventually include the more than 30,000 community-based community and neighborhood healthcare centers that are required to provide for the healthcare needs of the American people the same way our public school system provides everyone the opportunity to learn to read and write.  

Dr. Young, what makes you believe that if we can’t teach people to read and write without this vast public institution known as our public schools, we can continue to rely on private delivery of healthcare services--- how many of us have had: “choice of teacher;” parents and students alike are satisfied with QUALIFIED teachers, just as everyone will be satisfied with qualified doctors and healthcare professionals and workers employed by a public healthcare system just like teachers receiving the same kind of pay.

You and the PNHP owe it to the American people to properly frame the debate over healthcare reform because you bungled movement building by tossing in “private delivery” of healthcare when public delivery is what is required; you then compounded your bungling by supporting Barack Obama in the manner you did that helped create a mythical figure with no association with reality.

With you being a physician, I am sure you always have found a way to tell your patients the truth about their illness; well, healthcare reform requires telling the entire truth if we are going to have a chance of solving the problem we need to understand the “cure” for what is causing the ailment: a private for profit healthcare system where everyone involved in healthcare delivery has had their greedy, corrupt fingers in the public till and in our pockets--- everyone, beginning with the profit-gouging insurance companies, HMO’s, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and, yes, even the doctors.

In the midst of this greed driven frenzy and profit orgy, we have seen socialized healthcare systems in the form of VA and the Indian Health Service, not to mention the National Public Health Service, serve the healthcare needs of people well in spite of severe underfunding by both Democrats and Republicans with these worthless bribed politicians more often than not working together to deprive these fine public institutions of funding required to serve the healthcare needs of people rather being in operation to reap maximum profits and wealth.

Public and socialized institutions in our country are many and often so taken for granted we do not even consider they are public institutions in a country where we are bombarded day-in and day-out with the fallacy that “free enterprise capitalism” is the only road to take where “capitalist markets” regulate everything successfully--- well, we have plenty of socialized public institutions operating just fine which proves these musings concocted by  high-paid Wall Street apologists to be the lies that they are just like the insurance companies that are now bombarding the airwaves with advertisements in a manner of the snake-oil salesman hawking his “cure-all” claiming that if you don’t buy it now you will be shit-out-of-luck as this most reactionary and regressive piece of legislation that has ever come down the pike out of the U.S. Congress--- and there have been some real doozies in the last 100 years--- is about to be voted on by the most well-bribed gathering of politicians beholden to the profiteers in the healthcare industry.

Here is a partial listing of our public and socialized institutions---

Every single American benefits from many socialized/public programs in this country without any complaints every single day of their lives:
·       Public schools.
·       United States Post Office.
·       Police.
·       Fire.
·       Libraries.
·       Parks and recreation.
·        Water and sewer.
·       Public transit.
·       Courts.
·       Roads, highways and bridges.
·        Power lines.
·       Sidewalks.
·       Public forests and lands.
·       Public fishing accesses. (These are very important to people here in Minnesota)


Dr. Young, I encourage you to have the courage of Frances Perkins to stand up and help initiate the struggle for real healthcare reform this country requires--- single-payer universal healthcare with a vastly expanded public healthcare system.

This fiasco is the: "Health Insurance Industry Bailout and Profit Maximization Act of 2010"

No one but the profiteers and those who have been scared and frightened are for this; everyone else is opposed to it.

Dr. Young, in the interest of unity I am requesting that you and PNHP reconsider this idea that “private delivery” of healthcare services is wanted and a requirement for healthcare because it is simply not true and it is an impediment to building the kind of movements that have so successfully won reforms of many kinds over the years. The majority of the people in this country are liberal-minded or left-wing thinking, especially among working people.

The great reforms have come as a result of liberal-minded and left-wing thinking people coming together in unity forging massive progressive coalitions to accomplish specific goals and objectives…

The American people desperately want three things more than anything:

  1. An end to these dirty wars.
  2. Real healthcare reform heading us towards a national public healthcare system.
  3. Jobs, jobs, jobs with the enforcement of affirmative action.

We need to pull together in this country a massive progressive coalition that will fight to end these wars which will provide the money and resources to build this national public healthcare system and this will create up to ten-million new, good-paying jobs,

Peace = Healthcare reform + jobs

The “Health Insurance Industry Bailout and Profit Maximization Act of 2010” is tantamount to the doctor killing the patient. The American people are entitled to more.

We agree with you completely when you state:

The House bill, contrary to many who believe otherwise, is disastrous. And if such a thing is possible, its Senate counterpart is even worse. Both would shovel hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars into the coffers of the private health insurance industry. Both would make it a federal offense, with fines, for a person to fail to buy the insurers' shoddy products.

Even so, at least 23 million people would remain uninsured under the new law. And those who have insurance would remain vulnerable to extort premium increases, not unlike Anthem Blue Cross' recently announced premium hikes of up to 39 percent in California.

While one could imagine the enactment of certain piecemeal measures that might ameliorate our condition -- e.g., a simple prohibition of insurance company denials of coverage because of pre-existing conditions -- these are precisely the stand-alone measures most stubbornly opposed by Republicans, conservative Democrats and their corporate patrons. Such concessions, in their eyes, must be linked to shoring up the very culprits who are most responsible for our health care mess.
 
The presence of the for-profit health industry -- the private health insurance conglomerate and the Big Pharma drug companies in the first place -- in the legislative process has certainly been "transparent" from the get go. Through their lobbyists and campaign contributions, they shaped a bill that would enhance their domination of our health system. They are at the root of the catastrophe that passes for health care financing in the United States today.

Hoping you will consider what I have said on behalf of Minnesotans for Peace and Social Justice--- the organization that fought for six years to win passage of a resolution supporting single-payer universal healthcare as part of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party’s “Action Agenda” because we see single-payer universal healthcare as the needed intermediary and baby step on the way to socialized healthcare.

Let’s not fear this word “socialized” healthcare; we see how Claude “Red” Pepper, the architect of modern Medicare/Medicaid, was driven from public office for so many years which held back healthcare reform in this country for decades. Of course, let us not forget, that it was Earl Browder who was the architect of the great progressive coalitions which brought liberals and the left together in these mighty winning coalitions which brought real change for the better to the lives of so many Americans.

There isn’t one single Democrat or Republican who should go unchallenged at the polls--- these enemies of the American people who have so loyally served Wall Street should be punished at the polls.

No peace; no votes.

No real healthcare reform; no votes.

No jobs without the enforcement of affirmative action; no votes.

In a democracy this is called “accountability.”

People listened to your advice about the “choice of doctor” they should choose to solve what ails this country; on the basis of your opinion they chose Barack Obama. Quite frankly, your suggestion for a doctor turned out to be nothing more than a slick health insurance salesman practicing medicine without a license and running a scam.

Dr. Young, you really did make a bad referral. You relied on a crooked and corrupt Congressman like John Conyers to carry your diagnosis to the “doctor” and you allowed a gutless little twerp like Dennis Kucinich who sees flying saucers and faints at the slightest smell of gas or the sight of blood to assist the unlicensed “doctor” you chose.

Alan L. Maki
Founder,
Minnesotans for Peace and Social Justice

58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432
Cell Phone: 651-587-5541


Please check out my blog: http://thepodunkblog.blogspot.com/




Subject: Put Single Payer Back on the Table -- By Dr. Quentin Young (Huffington Post, Feb. 22, 2010)

Date: Saturday, March 20, 2010, 1:53 PM

Put Single Payer Back on the Table
By Dr. Quentin Young
The Huffington Post
February 22, 2010

One year after its much-ballyhooed launch, the Obama administration's approach to health reform is now in serious disarray.

The president's health care summit on Feb. 25 is being portrayed as a last ditch bid to find some common ground with his "just say no" Republican opposition. He also faces an increasingly wary group of disgruntled Democrats, whose memory of the Massachusetts massacre -- the election of a Republican to Sen. Edward Kennedy's seat -- remains fresh.

The summit proceedings, which will be televised in the name of "transparency," will no doubt be laden with a formidable amount of stagecraft. They will be preceded by the unveiling of the president's own legislative proposal -- presumably the odious Senate bill with some tweaks -- a few days before.

But it's almost certain that this latest White House initiative, undertaken with the stated goal of salvaging and passing at least some elements of the stalled congressional bills, is foredoomed.
 
The House bill, contrary to many who believe otherwise, is disastrous. And if such a thing is possible, its Senate counterpart is even worse. Both would shovel hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars into the coffers of the private health insurance industry. Both would make it a federal offense, with fines, for a person to fail to buy the insurers' shoddy products.

Even so, at least 23 million people would remain uninsured under the new law. And those who have insurance would remain vulnerable to extort premium increases, not unlike Anthem Blue Cross' recently announced premium hikes of up to 39 percent in California.

While one could imagine the enactment of certain piecemeal measures that might ameliorate our condition -- e.g., a simple prohibition of insurance company denials of coverage because of pre-existing conditions -- these are precisely the stand-alone measures most stubbornly opposed by Republicans, conservative Democrats and their corporate patrons. Such concessions, in their eyes, must be linked to shoring up the very culprits who are most responsible for our health care mess.
 
The presence of the for-profit health industry -- the private health insurance conglomerate and the Big Pharma drug companies in the first place -- in the legislative process has certainly been "transparent" from the get go. Through their lobbyists and campaign contributions, they shaped a bill that would enhance their domination of our health system. They are at the root of the catastrophe that passes for health care financing in the United States today.

Of course, the conspicuous omission in the debate has been single-payer national health insurance proposal, an improved Medicare for All. This was assured on the Senate side when the powerful chairman of its Finance Committee, Max Baucus, D-Mont., informed the world that everything was on the table but single payer.

How the chairman of a congressional committee, however powerful, can set the terms of debate in a democratic society by excluding such a popular and well-substantiated solution is hard to rationalize. Baucus did, of course, prevail, and what came out of the Senate was execrable. Like the House bill, it fails the three tests of genuine reform: universal coverage, quality improvement and cost control.
One can reasonably suspect that President Obama now wants something -- anything -- to pass in Congress as evidence of the fulfillment of his campaign pledge to accomplish health care reform. But if he looks to the House and Senate bills as the starting point, his efforts will be in vain.

It's not too late for the president to re-embrace his earlier support for single-payer national health insurance and set the nation on the right path. Were he to lay out the facts to the American people and provide energetic leadership for this eminently rational proposal, he would get strong, grassroots support from the public.

We're now spending $8,000 per capita annually on health care, $2.5 trillion in total. That's nearly one-fifth of our GDP. Yet our health outcomes rank among the lowest in the industrialized world. Some 45,000 people die each year chiefly because they have no health insurance, and medical bills and illness are now linked to nearly two-thirds of personal bankruptcies. This reality in the richest country in the world is unnecessary and intolerable.

I suggest the president look to an improved and expanded Medicare program as the solution. Medicare, which was enacted in 1965 and which has served our elderly and the totally disabled so well, is a solid foundation to build upon.

Enactment of an improved Medicare for All would save our nation $400 billion annually by eliminating the bureaucracy and paperwork inflicted on our system by the private insurers. That's more than enough to provide universal, comprehensive care to everyone and to eliminate all co-pays and deductibles. A single-payer system would also allow us to rein in costs and better allocate resources.

We have a talented health care workforce. But to fully unlock their potential, we need to get out from under the greedy dictates of the health industry.

Mr. President, it's time to put single payer back on the table.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-quentin-young/put-single-payer-back-on_b_471811.html

Physicians for a National Health Program
29 E Madison Suite 602, Chicago, IL 60602
Phone (312) 782-6006 | Fax: (312) 782-6007
www.pnhp.org | info@pnhp.org
© PNHP 2010



Alan L. Maki
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432
Cell Phone: 651-587-5541


Please check out my blog: http://thepodunkblog.blogspot.com/