Health-Care Reform Act Assailed

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
April 29, 2011

April 29--Congress caved into corporate interests last year to enact a health care policy that will leave millions of Americans without insurance, do nothing to rein in rising costs and put everyone at the mercy of an unfair, for-profit system, a national advocate for a single-payer health system said in Albuquerque.

"We need a system," Margaret Flowers, a Maryland-based congressional fellow with Physicians for a National Health Program, told the New Mexico Public Health Association convention in Albuquerque this week. "We don't have a system. We don't allocate resources in a rational way. We ration care in the cruelest way, on the ability of the patient to pay."

Flowers, a pediatrician who left practice in 2007 to work on health reform issues, said health policy "is part of a greater social justice movement" that should fight for better education, jobs, decent housing and a cleaner environment for everyone.

Corporate interests, abetted by corporate-controlled media, kept a single-payer solution from being discussed during the debate the led to the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, Flowers said, adding that the evidence shows such a system provides better patient care at a lower cost than an insurance-based, for-profit payment system.

Medicare and Medicaid are victims of out-of-control costs that ACA will only make worse, she said. The law will raise costs with new insurance exchanges, more regulations on insurance companies and an increased role for the Internal Revenue Service, which will have to enforce mandatory coverage rules scheduled to take effect in 2014, Flowers said.

If corporations paid taxes on operations they move off shore, revenues will be more than enough to fund those programs, Flowers said. "Austerity measures are not necessary," she said.