People go without health care as insurance CEOs make massive salaries

Letter to the Editor
Capital Times (Madison, Wis.), July 2, 2011

Dear Editor:

The “laboratories of democracy” concept was conceived by Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis in 1932. This concept has been used by Gov. Scott Walker and other business leaders to explain how the state could experiment with new ideas to improve its finances and job market.

It is ironic that Justice Brandeis was opposed to large corporate monopoly of American democracy. In 2009, $3.47 billion was spent on lobbying Congress, and almost all of this represented big corporations.

Over the last 30 years, wages for the working class have been stagnant, whereas the “Wall Street/corporate class” has seen a phenomenal concentration of wealth. In 1970, 1 percent of citizens had 9 percent of all wealth; today that 1 percent has 23.5 percent of all wealth.

In 1991, Appleton and Green Bay had the lowest health care costs in the United States, but between 2000-2010, the physician/health insurance cartels have concentrated health care monopolies there, so that health care costs have risen 290 percent. While over 50 million Americans cannot afford health insurance, UnitedHealth Group pays CEO Dr. William McGuire a $124 million annual salary ($60,000 per hour).

Money “earned” by NOT spending it on patients.

Donors to members of Congress who favor Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare voucher plan, which further enriches these same private health corporations, consist of the large physician/insurance corporations. Walker’s budget cuts further concentrates wealth to the Wall Street/corporate class at the expense of the working class. The last time our nation had this unbalanced concentration of wealth was in the fall of 1929.

Let’s stop experimenting with democracy in the lab, and actually put it to use: “promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, …”

Timothy Shaw, M.D.
Fitchburg, Wisc.