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ACA “Conscientious Objector”

CBS News reports: “March 31 has finally arrived, and with it comes the last official day for people to sign up for health insurance on the federal exchange websites.”

MARGARET FLOWERS, M.D., mdpnhp at gmail.com, @MFlowers8
Flowers is a pediatrician in Baltimore and co-director of PopularResistance.org. She just wrote the piece “Why I Am A Conscientious Objector To The ACA,” which states: “I have been an outspoken advocate for a Medicare for all health system. During the health reform process, I did all that I could to push for single payer, including being arrested three times for civil disobedience. I was one of fifty doctors who filed a brief in the Supreme Court which expressed opposition to forcing people to buy private health insurance, a defective product. It pains me to see that the Affordable Care Act siphons billions of public dollars to create more bureaucracy and transfers hundreds of billions of public dollars directly to the private insurance industry when I know that those dollars should be paying for the health care that so many in our country desperately need.

“I am currently uninsured, so I have to make a choice. I don’t qualify for Medicaid and I’m too young for Medicare. By law, I am required to buy private insurance or pay a penalty. But I find myself in the position of not being able to do either. I can’t in good conscience give money to the health insurance industry that I am fighting to eliminate. And I can’t in good conscience pay a tax penalty that will be given to that industry. So, I am going to be a Conscientious Objector to the ACA. …

“Focusing solely on the number of people who are insured is what the private health insurance industry wants the public to believe is most important. The industry spent tremendous amounts of money and time to get a law that would force people to buy insurance in order to protect and enhance their assets. They want everyone to buy their products and to make people feel reckless or irresponsible if they don’t. This is a massive campaign to distract people from asking the questions that really matter, such as whether people with insurance will be able to afford health care, whether bankruptcies from medical debt will continue and whether overall health outcomes will improve.

“In the United States, having health insurance does not guarantee access to necessary health care. In fact, rather than creating health security, the ACA is degrading health care coverage in the U.S. It is also creating the largest transfer of public dollars to a private industry ever, as UNITE HERE reports, ‘most of the ACA’s $965 billion in subsidies will go directly to commercial insurance companies.’”

Flowers recently debated Dean Baker on the ACA on The Real News.

Obamacare “Taking a Failed Market System to a Whole New Level”

http://www.accuracy.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/acf.jpgKEVIN ZEESE, kzeese at earthlink.net, @KBZeese
MARGARET FLOWERS, M.D., mdpnhp at gmail.com, @MFlowers8
Zeese and Flowers wrote “Obamacare: The Biggest Insurance Scam in History,” just published by truth-out.org.

The piece states: “The ACA [Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare] takes our failed market-based system to a whole new level by forcing the uninsured to purchase private health plans and using the government to sell and subsidize them.

“Sadly, most Americans are being manipulated into supporting the ACA and do not even know they are being bamboozled. … But it is the insurance companies that are realizing windfall profits from the Obamacare con even as it falters.

“The mass media is focused on the technical problems with getting the insurance exchanges up and running. These problems result from the complexity of the law and outsourcing of services to corporations that are often more costly and less effective than government. In comparison, in 1965 when Medicare started, everyone 65 and over was enrolled within six months – using index cards.

“If all U.S. residents were in one plan, Medicare for all, rather than the ACA’s tiered system that institutionalizes the class divides in the United States, not only would the health system be fairer and improve health outcomes, but it would be less bureaucratic, less costly and easier to implement. The Medicare-for-all approach considers health care to be a public good, something that all people need, like schools, roads and fire departments.”

The piece also notes that Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen “Sebelius is seeking funds from groups like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and H&R Block. And the Hill noted, ‘Obama himself made a vague but personal appeal for a close partnership with insurers, which some in the industry saw as a precursor to direct fundraising pitches.’ In April 2013, ‘Obama reportedly sat in for an hour-long meeting he was initially not scheduled to attend and told insurance executives that the White House and the industry were now “joined at the hip” trying to make the healthcare law work.’”

Zeese and Flowers host ClearingtheFOGRadio.org and co-direct It’s Our Economy. Flowers is former congressional fellow for Physicians for a National Health Program and is on the board of Healthcare-Now.

Did Wall Street and Tea Party Win? Does Obama Want to Cut Social Security?

http://www.accuracy.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Social_Security_Cards.jpgCNN reports: “Seniors to Get Small Social Security Increase in 2014.”

ARUN GUPTA, arun.indypendent at gmail.com
Independent journalist and regular contributor to AlterNet, Truthout and the Guardian, Gupta is a co-founder of the Occupied Wall Street Journal and the Indypendent.

He said today: “Let’s not forget Obama has been trying to introduce severe austerity ever since he got into office. In January 2009 he told the Washington Post he wanted to cut Social Security and Medicare. He has legitimized the discourse of deficit reduction when it’s all voodoo economics. He wants to cut corporate taxes. He turned the Bush tax cuts into a bargaining chip when he could have swept them away in early 2009.

“One important point that seems to have slipped completely below the radar is how the markets reacted. There was never a fear premium, meaning Wall Street never thought the default was a danger. But related to that is this idea that the Tea Party is some rogue element no longer controlled by big business. If there was real fear that the Tea Party would do damage to the economy you would have seen the markets plunge, which would have forced them into line very quickly. Additionally, there is no evidence that corporations will pull their money from the GOP. Led by the Tea Party, they are still pushing for measures to cut taxes on the wealthy, eliminate regulations and cripple organized labor. That’s the Wall Street agenda, and that’s why they are the big winners in this whole affair.”

Gupta wrote the piece for the Progressive: “Don’t Let Obama Cut Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.”

He notes the Washington Post piece from 2009 “Obama Pledges Entitlement Reform President-Elect Says He’ll Reshape Social Security, Medicare Programs.”