Meadville Tribune

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May 13, 2014

When it comes to government, listen with your eyes wide open

The McClatchy Washington Bureau recently reported that a new investor report by S&P Capital IQ, a division of McGraw Hill Financial, predicts the Standard & Poors 500 companies could shift 90 percent of their workforce from job-based health insurance coverage to individual insurance coverage sold on the nation’s marketplace by 2020. If health care inflation continues as it does, currently 7.5 percent, savings for S&P 500 companies could top $800 billion. If all companies with 50 or more employees followed suit, they could collectively save $3.25 trillion through 2025, according to the report. Based upon companies’ goal of increasing profits, there is, I submit, little doubt that since this shift reportedly could take place it will take place.

So, ah ha, all the naysayers were wrong: Obamacare will work! Under the cover of darkness, in a stealth-like manner, Obamacare will facilitate the shift of the costs of health care from employers to employees and the coverage probably will provide less coverage than workers currently enjoy. Serious illnesses that are very expensive to treat may not even be covered by many insurance companies except at very high rates. Many employees will accept the risks and forgo such coverage, thus alleviating an unnecessary burden on insurance industry profits. Many of these risk takers will merely fade away at whatever speed the uninsured disease progresses.

The lower insurance rates for large employee group coverage will be phased out and replaced with much more expensive individual rates. Because wages are not and will not keep up with rising health care costs, workers will have to work longer hours to meet the insurance cost burden, maybe by getting another job. More time away from home will mean less time for workers to think about and act against their oppressors, the dues paying ladies and gentlemen of the elite government-corporate plutocracy.

And, also, with spending more time working there will be less quality time available for workers to care for and raise their children. This means children will not develop as well as they could and should, thus they will do worse in school. Elected non-representatives will blame the public schools for the students’ failures and education will fully shift, stealth-like, from the public sector to the private sector where no health care coverage need be provided to teachers. With a little luck, and a lot of propaganda, workers will acquiesce to this change supposedly for the benefit of their children who, alas, will get less education and more training for boring, dead-end, low-paying service jobs.

Taxes currently allocated for public education will be shifted from a government responsibility to an individual responsibility, as with health care. Without teachers being provided with health care insurance by their private companies they will be required to take on a longer work day, maybe tutoring or working the late shift at Wal-Mart, so they may be able to afford the cost of individual health care insurance for their families. Or they may opt out by not buying coverage and get fined by the government as provided by Obamacare. The health care industry must really be getting a kick out of that!

The corporate profit centers must be quiet, so as not to awaken anybody, praising Barack Obama, the Stealth Class Warrior Extraordinaire. The big lie was that Obamacare was a gift to low-income families while, in fact, it is another major gift to large and powerful corporations. No wonder big business and especially the health insurance industry gave him so much in campaign contributions.

As the plight of workers descends to even more feudal-like conditions, the blame will be heaped upon individual workers and the best scapegoats in the world, minorities, and not on the economic structure that was designed for and by the oligarchy for maximum profitability. Class warfare does work, especially when so many workers are not engaged because they struggle so hard to make it in the system that their elected non-representatives, of both parties, have been so assiduously implementing while at the same time giving the false appearance that they were working for the workers.

Congress is no longer a place for representatives to perform the solemn duties and responsibilities of their oath of office but instead it has become another center for individual profit, Congress members’ individual profit.

The answer is not less government. The current system provides less government because our elected non-representatives are too busy garnering money to feather their own nests through what is called campaign contributions but, clearly, is nothing less that criminal corruption! Corruption by Congress members who are provided with the best health care insurance benefit provided by any employer anywhere in the world at the cost, yes, you guessed it, passed onto you.

How can We the People make change? The answer may be in the closing lines of a poem by Sam Hamill, “Eyes Wide Open.” The poem asks about the burden of finding another way and concludes thusly:

But listen. And you will hear her small, soft plaintive voice

it’s already there within you

a heartbeat, a whisper,

a promise broken

if only you listen

with your eyes wide open.

Sandy Kelson is a Conneaut Lake-area lawyer and member of Veterans for Peace.

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