The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.
Joe Biden right now is trying to privatize the Democratic-Party-created Medicare system, in order to complete the privatization plan that was started by the Republican George W. Bush, and that was then further advanced by the Democrat Barack Obama, and then by the Republican Donald Trump, with the aim of all of them being to replace the highly efficient socialized (i.s., government-administered) Democratic-Party-produced, unitary Medicare system, by means of multiple competing corporate-administered profit-motivated insurance companies and sickness-care-providing organizations, so that today’s Democratic Party will be able to attract enough donations from the billionaires who control those private corporations, in order for Democratic Party candidates to beat Republican Party candidates in future elections. Getting funds from Wall Street, lawyers, and high-tech, isn’t enough.
On January 16th, the Corporate Crime Reporter (Russel Mokhiber, at email@example.com) bannered “Elizabeth Fowler Defending Trump Program to Privatize Medicare”, and he opened:
Put aside Democrat versus Republican.
Let’s just look at corporations versus people.
Elizabeth (Liz) Fowler has a stellar corporate resume.
For seven years, she worked at Johnson & Johnson, as vice president for global health policy.
Before joining Johnson & Johnson, she was chief health counsel to Senate Finance Committee chair [conservative Democrat] Max Baucus, who banned single payer advocates from the deliberations that led to the insurance company dominated Affordable Care Act. [That’s why Obama chose him to produce his Obamacare.]
In her off time, Fowler is a runner.
She runs marathons and triathlons around the world.
During work hours, she carries the torch for the health insurance industry and big pharmaceutical companies.
And it doesn’t matter whether she is in the public or private sector.
It’s the same goal – privatize public health programs.
She currently sits in the public sector, working for President Biden as head of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.
During her first year in office, she has been very active, making public appearances on corporate sponsored podcasts, constantly pushing the corporate privatization agenda.
She even met with a group of single payer doctors last month during a Zoom call to defend her Medicare privatization policies.
The doctors were alarmed by a program instituted during the previous Trump administration called Direct Contracting Entities (DCEs).
DCEs are entities set up by private equity firms and others to enroll traditional Medicare patients without their knowledge into Medicare Advantage type organizations.
The Intercept reported last month that “in January 2019, ahead of the launch of a new direct contracting model, the Office of the General Counsel for the Health and Human Services Department warned, in comments on a draft of the proposal, that it appeared as if the new project was being set up to benefit specific companies.” …
Mokhiber noted that when doctors from the democratic-socialist Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP), had asked probing questions at Fowler’s press conference, she refused to answer them, but said simply that we have to get away from the “financial incentives in the U.S. healthcare system.” Beyond that, she wouldn’t answer, other than to say that privatization must replace existing Medicare, and that competition (greed-motivation) must be increased in America’s health care, and that the existing (super-inexpensive) Medicare bureaucracy needs to be replaced by consumer-choice (so that the consumers, who will then have been misinformed by the competing providers, will choose between them, and the most-ruthless of the providers will win the most business). (This is an application of the philosopher Herbert Spencer’s “social Darwinist” interpretation of the scientist Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Darwin himself never endorsed that interpretation of it.)
In fact, as early as 15 October 2019, The Intercept had bannered “DOCUMENTS REVEAL HOSPITAL INDUSTRY IS LEADING FIGHT AGAINST MEDICARE FOR ALL”, and reported that America’s hospital chains had created a “Dark Money” organization to fund propaganda against the existing socialistic U.S. Medicare; so, in America the management of public opinion is well taken care of by the mega-investors. Whereas many healthcare workers favor socializing medicine as is done in almost all other industrialized countries, healthcare investors are strongly against that; and in America the investors are in control of the Government; workers are not. That’s why America has the shortest life-expectancies of any industrialized country.
On February 16th, Branko Marcetic headlined “Joe Biden Is Quietly Pursuing the Creeping Privatization of Medicare”, and he reported that:
The Biden administration has quietly decided to continue a Trump administration scheme whose ultimate goal is the privatization of Medicare. Americans would be outraged — if anyone knew about it.
Last November 30, a collection of physicians and activists were in Washington, DC, its federal buildings still largely closed for business thanks to the pandemic and fear of another Trumpist uprising. They were there to protest what they warned was an attempt to end Medicare as we know it.
Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), the leading group behind the effort, had been trying for some time to make its displeasure about the “direct contracting” program known. After collecting more than thirteen thousand signatures for a petition opposing the initiative, they’d asked repeatedly for a meeting with Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary Xavier Becerra to hand it to him. They called, emailed, left voice messages, all to no avail. The most they got was a single response from a staffer, sent the night before their DC visit, promising to set up a meeting sometime in the future.
It’s in the works, and will almost certainly be passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Biden (or else President Harris, or maybe President Trump). It’s merely a matter of time now.
Currently, the WellCare executive, Fowler, represents, actually, Republican-Party billionaires. WellCare’s “Total Contributions by Party of Recipient” in the latest reported cycle, 2018 was 76.52% Republican. But Joe Biden wants those billionaires, too, to be on his side — not only backing Republican candidates. Party no longer makes much of a difference among billionaires, because the partisanship is increasingly becoming just us-versus-them, and “them” has increasingly become the entire public — all workers and all consumers — and those (unlike the megadonors) are the people who need to be fooled, not to be informed. As America’s economy becomes hollowed-out, its billionaires need to fool the domestic public even more, and to expand their foreign business to make up for domestic declines, as wages fail to keep up with inflation. Healthcare is an excellent example of this, because ever since 2014, average lifespans (longevity) have been declining in America, despite America’s now spending nearly 20% of GDP (by far the highest percentage in any nation) on healthcare. America’s misinformed consumers are dying younger than before, and this will likely accelerate if the Bush-Obama-Trump-Biden plan becomes passed into law, as now seems increasingly likely.
Privatization of governmental services is an idea that was started by the inventor of fascism, Benito Mussolini, in the 1920s in Italy, and then picked up by the fascist Adolf Hitler in Germany, in the 1930s. Mussolini appropriately called his fascism also by the name of “corporationism,” because fascism stems from the nation’s aristocracy and represents their corporations, especially the ones that expand abroad and therefore need the domestic public to pay higher taxes to support an empire’s expanding military, so as to be able to enforce the fascist aristocracy’s will in foreign lands, and thereby to become able to offer to conquered nations’ aristocracies “a deal they cannot refuse.” This is how an empire works. As Mussolini (the inventor of fascism) proudly said, “Corporationism is above socialism and above liberalism. A new synthesis is created.” And “Private organization of production being a function of national interest, the organization of the enterprise is responsible to the State for the direction of its production.” Today’s bipartisan — Democratic and Republican — propagandists call it “public-private partnerships”. It’s the way empires are done. The corporations serve the State, and its owners control the State.
However, Biden is mainly carrying forward what Obama had started, and what Obama had started was carrying forward the privatization plans that George W. Bush had started. Here’s just a bit of the history of Obama’s part in this:
On 18 January 2012, Brian Beutler at Talking Points Memo, headlined “Key Reform Ally Dishes on ‘Weak-Kneed’ White House Health Care Push”, and reported that in a new book, Fighting for Our Health, the reformer activist who had worked with the Obama Administration on its healthcare plan, Richard Kirsch, wrote that the reason there was no public option in it, was that, “The White House had negotiated a number of deals with the health industry, designed to win their support for reform, including agreeing to oppose a robust public option, which would have the greatest clout to control how much providers got paid.” (A public option that’s managed by Medicare would also have cut the insurer-administrative costs to far less than half of what profit-making insurers charge, and this far higher privatized administrative cost is a major reason why America’s healthcare per-capita costs overall are more than twice as high as in other industrialized countries while producing healthcare in America that’s in the bottom 10% of all of those countries — America’s health insurance is far more corporate, far less socialized, than in any other industrialized nation.) The former JPMorgan Partners WellPoint investor Nancy-Ann DeParle, and the former WellPoint VP Elizabeth Fowler who actually wrote Obama’s Affordable Care Act, didn’t want any public option, because WellPoint and the other for-profit health insurance companies wanted high profits; so, Obama didn’t want a public option, either.
As Wikipedia simply put it in their article on Elizabeth Fowler (subsequently removed in order to help hide the reality of today’s Democratic Party), she was “the WellPoint executive and lobbyist who joined Senator Max Baucus’s staff to write the Affordable Care Act, then joined the Obama Administration to oversee its implementation.” Her having been a WellPoint VP wasn’t even mentioned there. (And now the article is entirely gone.)
On 3 July 2011, the “PEU [Private Equity Underwriter] Report” bannered “DeParle’s CareMore Sold to WellPoint for $800 Million”, and reported that:
Ms. DeParle was in an ideal spot to pick winners for JP Morgan Partners/CCMP.
That spot got sweeter with her White House Health Czar appointment, where she crafted the nuts and bolts of health reform. How did her redesign profit her former employer? Dealbook provided insight. ‘CCMP, formerly JPMorgan Partners, acquired CareMore in 2006. The PEU is expected to earn about five times its original investment in the company, people familiar with the deal’s terms said.’ A five bagger! That’s one bag per year of ownership.” Moreover, “White Health Health Czar Nancy Ann DeParle sat on the CareMore board for nearly three years.” Coming into the Obama White House, she had to dispose of her shares. So: “She transferred her stakes in CCP/JPMP Friends to her son, a move similar to Rick Scott’s giving his Solantic shares to his wife. Red and Blue love PEU’s (private equity underwriters).
By DeParle and Fowler keeping the public option out of their Obamacare, the values of their stocks soared. As for President Obama and the man whom he chose to oversee the drafting of the new law (Montana U.S. Senator Max Baucus), their payments were to be of a less-immediate type: lavish lifetime financial support, for them and their families and friends, from the aristocracy, after leaving public office.
In other words: From the get-go, Obama not only refused to deal with Democrats in Congress, but virtually all of his negotiating that produced his ultimate Obamacare had been with the health insurance companies and the drugmakers and the other suppliers, including physicians’ groups. (After all: physicians were the force behind the Republican proposals to cap medical liability, so as to allow incompetent physicians to continue practicing. Republicans and Obama referred to it as “malpractice reform.” That’s Orwellian Newspeak for: let the victims suffer all the losses.)
All of Obama’s negotiations with John Boehner, the Republican congressional leader, came after Obama had already designed his plan so as to please the medical industries.
Lawrence Summers (Obama’s economic guru) brought in as one of his two Deputy Directors of the National Economic Council Diana Farrell, who, like the other Co-Director, Jason Furman, and like Summers himself, had been a supporter of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries. Farrell was the Director of the McKinsey Global Institute from 2002-2009, where she headed an August 2003 report, “Offshoring: Is It a Win-Win Game?” which answered its question yes, because she concluded that shipping American jobs overseas would be of benefit to investors in both countries. Thus: “Offshoring is as beneficial to the US as it is to the destination country, probably more so,” especially because “Lower wages in foreign countries translate into significant savings and, often, improved quality. A software developer in the US, for example, costs $60 an hour whereas one in India only [sic] costs [should have been ‘costs only’] $6 an hour. [That was a logical error, not just a grammatical one, and she was very illogical, stupid and not just corrupt.] This and other benefits could translate to a net impact of a 50 percent increase in profits for American businesses.” She didn’t care about the impact on the American working class: “While Forrester, a technology research and trend analysis firm, predicts the loss of some 3.4 million jobs to offshoring in the US by 2015, MGI’s analysis shows that the United States has much more to gain,” because corporate profits would increase. In her value-system, investors and their companies’ top executives were number one, consumers were number two, and workers were non-existent. She became the chief person inside the Obama White House working on international-trade deals. Her scandalous record as a leading promoter of shipping American jobs overseas was not so much as mentioned, much less analyzed, in the billionares-controlled U.S. press. But, basically, she would be leading the charge in the race-to-the-bottom on wages and on the environment in the U.S., for this country to “compete” internationally, by lowering its wages and weakening its environmental enforcement. Only the American people would be kept in the dark about all this. They would be just fodder for the international aristocrats’ gristmill.
Farrell hadn’t changed at all after her 2003 report, either. For example, in a 14 June 2004 Yale School of Management panel with her fellow aristocratic agents Tom Friedman, Jeffrey Garten, and even the AFL-CIO’s Ron Blackwell as the participants, the topic was “The Brewing Storm: Offshoring, Innovation & Social Change” (likewise removed from the Web and never archived, because too embarrassing in retrospect) and, “Farrell discussed the jobs issue, and observed that ‘as distressing as the loss of jobs is,’ it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that ‘a vibrant, dynamic economy is one that bundles activities into increasingly higher value added activities’” for the benefit of aristocrats – the owners and managers of corporations. The AFL-CIO’s representative didn’t object. “Blackwell echoed her sentiment, noting that ‘the world doesn’t stand still.’” So, not even the labor unions raised hell against the then-emerging Obama Administration.
Even before he became President, Obama hired and surrounded himself by supporters of Hillary Clinton, and added to that only a few black aristocrats such as Valerie Jarrett and her friend Desirée Rogers. Even before he became President, he committed himself to being a President like Hillary Clinton but with just a slight touch of Black. His incoming team was 100% pro-aristocratic, nothing populist.
One of Obama’s purely Chicago Cabinet choices was his friend Arne Duncan, the son of a University of Chicago psychology professor. Arne went to private school and then Harvard, then in 2001 was appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley as CEO of Chicago’s Public Schools (despite never having attended a public school and having no background in public education), where, in the low-income neighborhoods, he imposed Milton Friedman’s libertarian theory of privatizing the public schools by changing them into charter schools, run by for-profit corporations and with pay dependent upon students’ scores on standardized tests. He became especially known for pursuing a militarized model of schooling, so as to produce graduating students who he thought would fit in well in corporate America. On 17 December 2008, Henry A. Giroux and Kenneth Saltman headlined at truthout.org (likewise removed by the site as being an embarrassment to the Democratic Party, and unfortunately not archived, but subsequently posted by its authors to Researchgate), “Obama’s Betrayal of Public Education? Arne Duncan and the Corporate Model of Schooling”. They wrote: “At the heart of this plan is a privatization scheme for creating a ‘market’ in public education by urging public schools to compete against each other for scarce resources and by introducing ‘choice’ initiatives so that parents and students will think of themselves as private consumers of educational services. … Under Duncan, Chicago took the lead in creating public schools run as military academies.” One report noted that: “He shut down dozens of neighborhood schools, practically all in lower income areas, and dismissed thousands of committed and experienced teachers, the vast majority of them African American women,” who “filed suit against the Chicago Board of Education, charging that the mass dismissals … of mostly black veteran teachers and their replacement with uncertified and generally underqualified white teachers is racially discriminatory.” They were “replaced by a much younger, much whiter and much less experienced corps of instructors graduated from a handful of accelerated programs funded by Boeing, the Bill and Melinda Gates, Bradley [far-Right], Walton Family [far-Right], Rockefeller and other foundations, and favored by City Hall and the Commercial Club. The new teachers are paid half or less what experienced teachers with advanced degrees were making.” Those veteran teachers had spent their careers teaching children from poor and broken families, and were thus treated by Duncan as failures merely because their students scored less well as a result of their deprived home backgrounds; the teachers were being punished because their students had been punished by circumstance of their poor births. “In school ‘turnaround’ operations, every teacher, food service worker, building engineer and custodial staff person is fired and the slate wiped clean.” This directly added yet further to unemployment among Blacks. Politically connected private contractors relaced these people. This is what Duncan subsequently imposed under President Obama in the guise of the nation’s “Race for the Top,” where it decimated education in low-income neighborhoods and failed utterly, just as it had earlier failed in Chicago when Duncan had headed the public schools there. Obama believed in a punitive model for dealing with the poor; he was a Republican in all but name, and he remained in this mold even though it had consistently failed. But not for the aristocrats; for them it meant yet more profit-making opportunities. For the aristocracy, their own failures don’t matter, because they don’t penalize their own failures. (The Waltons, Gateses, Rockefellers, and now evidently Barack Obama, simply despised the poor and respected the rich.) Teachers at elite schools who taught students who were selected by those schools, which could thus turn down “slow” students, faced no such threats of mass-firings, but teachers in poverty-stricken neighborhoods did – these being the very teachers who ought instead to have been paid the most, since their jobs were the most challenging of all. On 2 November 2007, the AP in Chicago had headlined “Chicago Leads in Public Military Schools”, and reported CEO Duncan saying, “These are positive learning environments. I love the sense of leadership. I love the sense of discipline.” He equated hierarchy/subordination to “leadership” and “discipline.” If Arne Duncan had been nearly as strict in penalizing his own failures as he was in penalizing the failures of people who were born to poverty, or the people who taught those, he’d have committed suicide, as he should indeed have done for his own vileness; but instead, President Obama anointed this reactionary public-policy failure Duncan to become the U.S. Secretary of Education. That alone indicated Obama’s deep contempt of the poor – people whom Obama/Duncan saw as military fodder, more like Spartans than like Athenians, just as soldiers for the aristocracy’s wars and corporate raids.
America’s incoming President Obama was overwhelmingly a man of faith (NOT science), himself. On 10 January 2009, the two nominal leaders of his forming Council of Economic Advisers, Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein, issued their analysis “The Job Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan” (which document was likewise removed from the Web because of its embarrassment to Obama, in retrospect; and is unfortunately not at Web-archives.) and promoted in it their economic stimulus package, by predicting the “Unemployment Rate With and Without the Recovery Plan”: With passage of the $800 billion economic stimulus bill, the predicted level of unemployment would peak at 8% in 2009 and decline back down to 5% by 2013; without passage, predicted unemployment would peak at 9.2% in 2010 and decline to 5% by 2014. These predictions were based on the false economic theory that had led to the crash, and it turned out to be just as false as the false theory that had produced them. This same day, the Nobel-Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman blogged at the New York Times, “Romer and Bernstein on Stimulus”, and he said, “The estimates appear to be very close to what I’ve been getting.” Like Romer and Bernstein and the rest of Obama’s economic team, Krugman used the fake ‘scientific’ theory of economics, and thus he thought that if the recovery plan would be put into place, then unemployment would peak at 8% in 2009 and be back down to only 5% by the end of Obama’s first term. Of course, this expectation, from the fake ‘scientific’ economic theory, turned out to be way off, but Obama didn’t fire and replace his economic advisors over that, nor did Krugman proclaim that his own profession was fake because of its abysmal prediction-record. Corruption went right to the top, in both political Parties, and permeated academia too, in both Parties. Obama’s economic team vastly underestimated the economic catastrophe that 8 years of George W. Bush, and that 30 years of Milton Friedman, Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke, Tim Geithner, and Lawrence Summers economics, had actually produced in America. Obama kept the faith, even though the track-records of his economic predictors were lousy (people of faith don’t learn from their repeatedly false predictions), and even though those people had produced the very same problems that some of them were now being assigned by Obama to rectify. It was insane, but (more deeply) it was corrupt. The incentives weren’t shaped by science, but by greed.
Naturally, therefore, unemployment under Obama quickly rose even higher than 9.2%, and stayed above that level, even though his economic recovery plan was, indeed, passed by Congress. The only people who boomed from it were the mega-investors. Yet, despite that abomination and failure in Obama’s understanding of the challenge he faced (or else because of his not even caring about anything except the backing he got from his megadonors), America’s liberals (who still haven’t been informed what a fake ‘progressive’ Obama was, much less what catastrophic harm he produced) kept their faith in him. He’s still the most highly esteemed person in America. And Obama never lost his faith in those aristocratic lies, and in the economists who held them as likewise matters of faith.
So there’s no real surprise that Biden is just a less slick version of Obama, and no surprise that, for example, Biden is pushing for even more military spending than the 98% neoconservative Congress has authorized (even though America already pays around 50% of the entire world’s military costs).
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse’s next book (soon to be published) will be AMERICA’S EMPIRE OF EVIL: Hitler’s Posthumous Victory, and Why the Social Sciences Need to Change. It’s about how America took over the world after World War II in order to enslave it to U.S.-and-allied billionaires. Their cartels extract the world’s wealth by control of not only their ‘news’ media but the social ‘sciences’ — duping the public.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.