Obama bill worthy of support?

Moyers show highlights progressive

dilemma on Obama healthcare plan


The question of how to approach Obama’s health plan is one of the most vexing progressives.

On the one hand, it largely represents a total capitulation to for-profit insurers and drug companies, giving them some 30 million new customers with no effective cost controls.

On the other, defeat of the bill might revitalize the Right. Further, it will at least provide health insurance for 30 million of the 50 million now uninsured.

To address this dilemma, the Friday, March 5 Bill Moyers show featured ex-Cigna exec Wendell Potter arguing for passsage,  despite the proposal’s ‘s major deficiencies. (see my blog at http://www.zcomm.org/ex-insurance-exec-sees-backlash-by-roger-bybee)for an interview with him where he outlines the problems with the Democratic approach, covering House, Senate, and Obama proposals, and warns of a public backlash against the individual mandate.)

Dr. Marcia Angell of Harvard Medical School (my interviews with her are scattered through many articles and blog postings on this site) asserts that the Obama package will alienate the public with ia punitive individual mandate and vastly increase power of insurers. She asserts iargues that the Obama approach is not a half-way step toward reform, but a major step in the wrong direction toward consolidating the power of the for-profit insurance industry. She maintains the at the Obama/Democratic approach will inevitably permit huge premium increases. The best part of the Obama plan is increased Medicaid coverage of the poor, but the major subsidizing of the insurance industry’s power makes it unworthy of support.

In particular, Dr. Angell  points out that having health insurance is not equivalent to having healthcare, as health insurers have a powerful motive to maximize profits by minimizing care.

Dr. Angell instead recommends a system that replaces the for-profit insurnce industry as the "linchpin" of US healthcare, proposing a single-payer or "Medicare for all" system like those in Canada, Taiwan, and many other advanced nations.

The show is can’t-miss viewing. It’s at http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/blog/2010/03/is_the_presidents_health_bill.html.

Leave a comment