The Health Care Plans of the Politicians Provide No Solutions

August 13 , 2009

Both the Democratic and Republican parties have put forward a welter of health care plans which they advertise as proof of their "concern" for the people and the answer to the health care crisis. But the plain truth is that none of these proposals offer a solution to the problem.

The main bill under consideration in Congress is the “Affordable Health Choices Act.” The bill would require all employers to either buy health insurance for their workers or pay an additional tax to help fund a “health insurance exchange” which would provide coverage to people not insured by any employer.

BUT, under this plan, the workers will still be saddled with huge insurance and medical bills as well as additional taxes. The type of insurance mandated by the “Affordable Health Choices Act,” would be so limited that it would be worse than useless. Under the plan, workers would have to pay as much as 35% of the premium cost for family coverage and 27.5% for single coverage.

Yet more. Workers can be forced to pay even higher co-premiums, deductibles, etc. under “alternative” insurance plans as long as such plans are approved by a newly created government agency. The majority of representatives on this new agency will come from the corporations and insurance industry. In other words, the very capitalist foxes who are intent on shifting the maximum costs onto the workers will be guarding the chicken coop.

Rather than addressing any of the urgent problems facing the people, the “Affordable Health Choices” bill would, in many ways, make things worse. Today many workers choose not to enroll in company-sponsored insurance programs simply because the workers cannot afford the co-premiums. Yet under the bill millions of workers will be compelled to buy insurance and if they do not they will be forced to pay fines. At the same time, coverage will not be sufficient to provide for the people's health care needs. In this respect, the “Affordable Health Choices” bill would bring in yet more windfall profits for the insurance companies which will receive billions more in premiums.

If a corporation elects not to insure its workers but to pay instead into a "health insurance exchange" trust fund, again the workers will be saddled with huge premiums, co-payments and deductibles. This part of the “Affordable Health Choices Act” will help many of the biggest corporations cut the wages of their workers and save hundreds of billions of dollars. Big corporations will only be required to pay a maximum of 8% of their total payroll in insurance premiums. Today, many of the largest corporations have been forced by the struggles of workers to pay as much as 20% of their payroll in health premiums.

The “Affordable Health Choices” bill is another vivid exposure of just what kind of reform the Democratic party offers the workers. While the Democrats and Obama are promising health care, the real content of their "reform" is to further attack the economic rights of the people and further exacerbate the health care crisis. Under the bill, tens of millions more workers will be saddled with huge medical insurance premiums and still be forced to pay exorbitant prices for most needed medical care.

While the Democrats and Republicans have proposed a number of other plans with variations in the types of coverage and method of payment, the “Affordable Health Choices” bill is the only one being seriously considered by the politicians. In addition, the other proposals are designed, first and foremost, to protect the profits of the various health care capitalists while making the people pay.

In fact, it is precisely the "health care for profit" system that is the basis of the proposals of the capitalist politicians and this is precisely the problem. As long as the huge insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry and hospitals are able to use the sickness and infirmities of the masses of the people as a means to maximize their profits, the people will be unable to afford vital medical care and will be denied their right to health and life. Yet in the U.S. where all the resources and knowledge exist to guarantee the health of the people, universal, comprehensive and free medical care for every American must be a right. This right can be won only by forcing the rich capitalists to give up their profits, by forcing the billionaires and corporations to pay for the health care of the people. The working class and broad masses of people can win this right only through repeated and stern struggles – struggles in the workplaces and communities as well as through a nation-wide political struggle – against the capitalists and their political parties.