President Obama’s health care bill: Poor sequel to Senate’s offering

I’ve been away from blog-posting for weeks — writing grant applications, journal papers, and tending to other work-related matters. One would think I’d burst back on the scene with a hard-hitting commentary on President Obama’s recently announced health care bill. As it turns out, President Obama didn’t say much; so, I have little to say about his bill.

President Obama’s bill is a warmed-over version of the Senate bill passed last year. (Check out the Kaiser Family Foundation’s comparison tool.) The President’s health care bill, like the Senate bill on which it is based, will leave millions still uninsured, exact huge cuts on individual workers’ incomes through mandatory insurance premiums, generate huge profits for the insurance industry through enrollment of millions of new customers and higher premiums for “high-risk” clients, deny coverage to undocumented workers, and continue to deny federal money to women seeking to exercise their legal right to an abortion.

What’s to celebrate? As I see it, it’s no exaggeration to say that the Democratic Party proposals (both the Senate’s and President Obama’s) sentences tens of thousands of people — disproportionately Black and Latino — to untold pain, suffering, and death. Rather than a sweeping reform of the U.S. health care system, it’s a reform of health insurance that funnels billions of dollars into that industry while leaving millions of working people with inadequate or no insurance.

As for tomorrow’s health care summit, that should be about as exciting as watching paint dry on a wall.

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010 at 21:25