Friday, January 15, 2016

One More Neoliberal President...


 Source: Public federal disclosures, Clinton campaign

by Gaius Publius

I don't want to make a production out of this cri de coeur. But I do want to point to these — three of the finds produced this campaign season at investigative places like The Intercept. Do you react as I do?

◾ First Zaid Jilani on Clinton and the health insurance industry:
Hillary Clinton’s Single-Payer Pivot Greased By Millions in Industry Speech Fees

Hillary Clinton’s sudden attack on Bernie Sanders’ single-payer health care plan is a dramatic break with Democratic Party doctrine that the problem with single-payer is that it is politically implausible — not that it is a bad idea.

Single-payer, the Canadian-style system in which the government pays for universal health care, takes the health insurance industry out of the picture, saving huge amounts of money. But the health insurance industry has become so rich and powerful that it would never let it happen.

That was certainly Clinton’s position back in the early 1990s, when she was developing her doomed universal coverage proposal for her husband, Bill.

But in the ensuing years, both Clintons have taken millions of dollars in speaking fees from the health care industry. According to public disclosures, Hillary Clinton alone, from 2013 to 2015, made $2,847,000 from 13 paid speeches to the industry.

This means that Clinton brought in almost as much in speech fees from the health care industry as she did from the banking industry.
And the capper...
As a matter of perspective, recall that most Americans don’t earn $2.8 million over their lifetimes.
For a candidate, that's a lot of money from a not very good place. The next neoliberal president. Makes my heart sink.

◾ Now Lee Fang on Howard Dean's new-found opposition to single-payer health insurance:
Howard Dean, Now Employed by Health Care Lobby Firm, Opposes Bernie Sanders on Single-Payer

Howard Dean is the latest in a string of Hillary Clinton supporters to charge that Bernie Sanders is wrong to support a single-payer health care plan. The former chairman of the Democratic National Committee claimed on MSNBC last night that Sanders’ reform might result in “chaos” because “trying to implement it would in fact undo people’s health care.” Dean added, “That is something people should be concerned about.”

Dean, a longtime supporter of single-payer, seemed to be changing his tune, a point made by host Chris Hayes during the segment.

This evolution of Dean, known within many circles for his spirited critique of the Iraq War during the 2004 Democratic primary, comes as he has settled into a corporate lobbying career.
Howard Dean's a lobbyist? Who knew? (Actually I did, but I been reading Lee Fang for a long time.) From Fang's most recent piece on Dean:
Dean, though he rarely discloses the title during his media appearances, now serves as senior advisor to the law firm Dentons, where he works with the firm’s Public Policy and Regulation practice, a euphemism for Dentons’ lobbying team. Dean is not a lawyer, but neither is Newt Gingrich, who is among the growing list of former government officials and politicians that work in the Public Policy and Regulation practice of Dentons.

The Dentons Public Policy and Regulation practice lobbies on behalf of a variety of corporate health care interests, including the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a powerful trade group for drugmakers like Pfizer and Merck.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America is widely known as PhRMA, the lobbyng force behind the fact that Medicare can't, by law, negotiate drug prices. Howard Dean is widely considered a Clinton surrogate. He's also a doctor.

More from Fang:
In 2009, Dean praised single-payer while speaking on Democracy Now, calling the idea “by far the most economically efficient system.” That’s because, as Dean noted at the time, a Medicare-for-all style single-payer system would cut down on bureaucratic overhead and do a better job at controlling prices. ... [But] Incumbent health care interests, particularly drug companies and insurers, have long viewed single-payer as a threat to their business model.
Now Howard Dean joins Hillary Clinton in undermining single-payer health insurance, and the odor of money surrounds the effort. Hurts my heart. I remember the Dean campaign. I remember the word "progressive" coming up.

◾ Finally David Dayen on the recent Clinton health care attack:
Wall Street Journal’s Scary Bernie Sanders Price Tag Ignores Health Savings

The screaming headline on Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal reads “Price Tag of Bernie Sanders’s Proposals: $18 Trillion.” This would comprise “the largest peacetime expansion of government in American history,” the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper warns.

The provenance of the figure is in many ways besides the point. Readers are intended to bug their eyes out at such a massive sum, and tsk-tsk at the deeply unserious, budget-busting promises of a democratic socialist. It’s the numerical version of a smear campaign.

But how did the Journal arrive at $18 trillion? They added up the 10-year price tags of seven programs Sanders has endorsed in his candidacy for president. It turns out that $15 trillion of the $18 trillion, or 83 percent of the total, comes from just one of these programs: establishing a single-payer health care system.
What the Wall Street Journal won’t tell you is that $15 trillion in national health spending over 10 years would represent a massive savings for the United States. Right now we spend at twice that rate for health care. ... Accounting for cost inflation in health care and extending that out for 10 years, on our current trajectory we would spend more than $30 trillion, compared to the $15 trillion of a single-payer plan, which would totally supplant it. ...

That represents a giant savings for the nation, for employers as well as individuals. Friedman’s analysis, which is literally called “How we can afford a national single-payer health plan,” makes this point repeatedly. Assuming that single-payer is paid for through progressive taxation, people would spend far less for their coverage than they do today, if the Wall Street Journal’s explicitly stated numbers are correct.
And the Clinton connection to this highly inaccurate attack from the right-leaning WSJ? This, from the third Democratic debate:
But I want to quickly say, one of the areas that Senator Sanders touched on in talking about education and certainly talking about health care is his commitment to really changing the systems. Free college, a single payer system for health, and it's been estimated were looking at 18 to $20 trillion, about a 40 percent in the federal budget.
This piece is not about Clinton or Dean per se. It's a self-indulgent personal cry. The more I read this stuff — and contemplate what could easily lie ahead — the more my stomach hurts and my heart aches. One more neoliberal president is exactly one more than I honestly think I can take.


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At 12:35 PM, Anonymous Robert Dagg Murphy said...

And now we must watch the entire family, insult to injury.

At 10:47 PM, Anonymous lpaisley said...

I am a 68 year old retiree and spent around $3000 out of pocket. When I do my taxes I will have a better number.
So we all get universal healthcare and my taxes go up. I doubt if they will go up that much. And I am healthy and take no medication. How can it be more expensive when insurance companies are making millions and that has nothing to do with my healthcare.

At 6:19 AM, Blogger Gingerbaker said...

So you are saying that H.C. earning speaking fees proves something? Then, prove it. Otherwise, you are just passing off innuendo like it's a truth. And I am not a H.C. supporter - I am voting Sanders - I just don't like the style of this article.

At 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

as a point of reference, hilbillary's aborted (assassinated) attempt at health care reform in '94ish was **NOT** a single-payer thing. It was a klugey, Rube Goldberg stinking pile that pointedly did NOT remove insurance from the system. A lot like obamneycare, it left insurance in the mix, though not quite with as much additional power over life and death (of the bottom 99%) as it has now.

I completely agree with GP's conclusion here. Hilbillary and the DNC are wholly owned by all the big money sectors and would never inconvenience their sponsors one bit... ever... even if it meant an increase in the 40K americans who perish annually due to lack of access or insurance's refusal to pay for actual health CARE. Obamneycare gave a lot of money to insurance and phrma but they still left 20M or so in the wind, and insurance can and does still refuse to save lives they consider too 'spensive to keep around.

If Americans don't landslide Bernie into office, and a lot of others with him into congress, we never will. I vascillate between thinking it can be done and realizing that the deck is still heavily stacked against him. The DNC and those super (read: corrupt) delegates? I just don't know.

Bernie will bring 20M irregular voters out.. maybe more. If that doesn't do it (via fraud or too many stupid voters...), nothing ever will.


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