Letter: independent candidate should have had say on health ruling

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To The Editor,

In your article entitled “Mixed Reaction to Healthcare Ruling”, you disenfranchised tens of thousands of citizens in the 16th congressional district by only including the corporate candidates Pitts and Strader in your commentary.

While we expect the corporate candidates to attempt keeping the political process entirely owned by corporate America and do everything possible to ignore third-party and independent candidates, we would’ve hoped for better from the press.

A quick view of the positions held by the Republican and Democratic candidates show that they are out of step with the hopes and desires of the American public. Here in the 16th district no self-respecting “Ron Paul Republican” will support Joe Pitts and no self-respecting “progressive Democrat” would support the carpetbagger candidate from the seventh district who has demonstrated that she is as virtually inarticulate on the issues as was Sarah Palin. Already members of the Democratic Committee are wondering how they got hung with an albatross like Strader whose website looks like it was knocked off on her laptop while doing the dishes.  You should check her first quarter FEC filing for a real eye-opener – almost as bad as Pitts himself!

Had you asked for my analysis of the Supreme Court decision, you would have at least had the opinion of a candidate who spent a year studying constitutional law proffering an intelligent observation. In essence both parties are very happy about the decision because it gives Congress the power, through the Constitution now, to force American citizens to spend money on products and services produced by private companies.

Obama cut a major deal with big Pharma and the legislation he sponsored amounts to nothing more than a bailout for the healthcare insurance companies, or as we usually say, a massive inflow of corporate welfare. The Democrats never had any intention of doing the one thing that Obama promised many years ago: to provide universal single-payer healthcare for American citizens as the citizens of every other industrialized nations enjoy. The Republican Party, on the other hand, further obscure the issue by talking about “government takeovers” and completely ignoring the fundamental reality that healthcare, along with education, are human rights to be guaranteed and protected by government.

From a purely tactical point of view no Democrat should be happy about this decision as it will send their president to the final four months of the election campaign saddled with a decision that will impose a tax increase on some of the nation’s poorest workers. Eighteen months from now, when the health insurance mandate part of the ACA takes effect, that’s what will be happening to people who have no employer-provided health plan and no other kind of coverage, if they fail to buy a policy for themselves and their families.

While the Obama administration and supporters of the act in Congress were spinning the issue in such a way as to suggest that the payment with which the poor will be hit would be a fine, the Justices in the majority were adamant that it would indeed be a tax.

The Republicans spin the story that they are saddened by the events but nevertheless when their champion Mitt Romney becomes president he will have the ACA overturned. In the unlikely event that Romney is elected, it is equally unlikely that the Senate will be Republican and hence the ACA will have no chance of being overturned. Getting dizzy?

Romney and his Republican buddies as well as the Democrats are playing politics once again with America’s healthcare. This is not a political issue. Every American is entitled to single-payer healthcare and the Democrat and Republican candidates should be chastised severely by the press for the way the corporate owned politicians, especially monstrosities like Joe Pitts who slops regularly at the trough of healthcare companies making a fortune through privatized healthcare. What a disgrace! But then not altogether unexpected from a man who blames Homer Simpson for the decline in fatherhood in United States!

Romney, who as governor of Massachusetts launched a state health plan that included an insurance mandate with a fine for not having insurance, which was clearly the model for the federal law, is in the awkward position of another Massachusetts presidential contender, John Kerry, who went down to defeat in part because he voted for an $87-billion bill funding the Iraq War and then voted against it, leaving him lamely explaining to reporters that “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.” Now Mitt Romney will have to be saying, for the next four months, that “I was for an insurance mandate before I was against it.”

It is working Americans however who are the big losers in the wake of this decision. Not just those who will be required to go out and buy some over-priced, minimal coverage, rip-off insurance plan offered by the private insurance industry, or to pay a “tax” to the IRS for not doing so, but everyone. Why? Because the “Affordable” care act is not affordable! It does little or nothing to control health care costs, which are destined to continue to consume an ever increasing amount of the total US GDP as well as families’ incomes.

The new federal version of Romneycare simply prolongs the day when the US finally does what it should have done decades ago, should have done during the first Clinton administration, and should have done at the start of the Obama administration: namely expanding Medicare to cover all Americans.

Instead of going for this option when he had broad and enthusiastic support as the newly elected president, Obama deliberately shut out all discussion of the Canadian-style approach to national health coverage — a national program of government insurance for all, with doctors’ rates and hospital charges negotiated by the government — and instead devised a scheme that leaves the whole payment system in the hands of the private insurance industry, and effectively lets doctors and hospitals charge what they can get away with.

Obama did this because he was a huge recipient of money from all sectors of the health care industry — the insurance companies, the hospital companies, the American Medical Association, the big pharmaceutical firms, and the medical supply firms.

ObamaRomneyCare is at its core an enrichment scheme for nearly all elements of the Medical Industrial Complex, with the possible exception of the lowly family practice physician, nurses, and hospital workers.

There is a reason why Canadians, who have better health statistics than US citizens, as measured by access to care, life expectancy, infant mortality rates, etc., spend half as much as we Americans do on health care both as individuals and as a percent of national Gross Domestic Product. There is a reason why the US has far and away the costliest medical system in the world, and yet still has some 50 million people who cannot get preventive care, and who cannot be seen by a physician when they or their family members get sick or injured unless they go to a hospital emergency room.

Independent candidates, move the ball forward; to ignore a candidate who has fulfilled all the requirements of ballot access and is registered with the Federal Elections Commission and who will be on the ballot along with the two corporate candidates is culpably negligent on your part as a journalist.

John Murphy

Candidate for U.S. Congress, 16th District

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