exterminating angle, or the only thing we’ll own is debt

What if employers no longer helped cover the healthcare of their full-time employees? You’d think that was bad, right? Well, apparently there are some folks on the right that are looking forward to the dismantling of the employer-provided healthcare status-quo with glee. Here’ a clip from the LA Times:

Emboldened by their success at the polls, the Bush administration and Republican leaders in Congress believe they have a new opportunity to move the nation away from the system of employer-provided health insurance that has covered most working Americans for the last half-century.

In its place, they want to erect a system in which workers — instead of looking to employers for health insurance — would take personal responsibility for protecting themselves and their families: They would buy high-deductible “catastrophic” insurance policies to cover major medical needs, then pay routine costs with money set aside in tax-sheltered health savings accounts…..

Supporters of the new approach, who see it as part of Bush’s “ownership society,” say workers and their families would become more careful users of healthcare if they had to pay the bills. Also, they say, the lower premiums on high-deductible plans would make coverage affordable for the uninsured and for small businesses.

“My view is that this is absolutely the next big thing,” said former
House Speaker Newt Gingrich, whose consulting firm focuses on healthcare. “You are going to see a continued move to trying to get people involved in the process by owning their own health accounts.”

We need to counter this “Ownership Society” campaign before it’s too late. That’s the umbrella under which all the rest of this is happening. It’s the keystone that connects and supports the rollback of Social Security, the dismantling of employer-supported healthcare, the de-funding of public schools, the strengthening of corporate power, and all the rest of it. We should have seen it on the horizon a few years ago, when Bush first started mentioning it in his speeches.

I noticed “Compassionate Conservativism” fading away, and “Ownership Society” seeping in, but I didn’t think anything of it. I didn’t see within that simple phrase the wholesale rollback of the New Deal. I didn’t think it was possible that it could happen. I didn’t think that these things that our ancestors had fought so hard for over the past 100 years could be swept away so quickly. I was na

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11 Comments

  1. a shy reader
    Posted February 3, 2005 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Half of all US bankruptcies are caused by medical bills.

  2. Posted February 3, 2005 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Why put health care on back of business? It just makes it harder for people to hire full time employees. It becomes a barrier. We ought to have nationalized health care and let buisiness just be business.

    Carol Mosley Brawn called it “de-coupling” health care from business and I think it’s a great idea.

    shy, isn’t it the failure to plan for medical bills the real cause of bankrupcy?

  3. stella
    Posted February 3, 2005 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    what normal or low income person can plan for something like a hundred thousand dollars in a year?

  4. brett
    Posted February 3, 2005 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    i was only able to catch about 4 seconds of the state of the union address (the time it took for me to reach the power knob on the car stereo and shut it off).
    anyway, i agree with mark’s point about the latest trick to hijack the language, and i fully expect them to just start referring to their plan AS “National Health Care”, so the befuddled democrats (never good at the semantics game) will think they can no longer influence anything related to the subject.

  5. Felix
    Posted February 3, 2005 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    From Jesus’ General:

    “Welcome to the ownership society. If you have not yet been assigned an owner, please report to Iran.”

  6. chris
    Posted February 4, 2005 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    OH MY GOD Felix! This is it, mofo!. You hit it dead on. My mom aked me about five years ago what I thought the GOP was after, to which I calmly replied, “to bring back slavery…apparently Walmart-Dixon line is to low.

  7. mark
    Posted February 5, 2005 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    First off, I can appreciate what Steve

  8. Jack
    Posted February 5, 2005 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    I think the best alternative I’ve seen to the “Ownership Society” is the “Abandonment Society”.

    It’s a good frame to that highlights the current destruction of basic social cooperation that we need more of today.

    See http://forum.rockridgeinstitute.org/?q=node/460
    for more on the subject.

  9. mark
    Posted February 6, 2005 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the link, Jack. From what little I’ve been able to read so far, this seems like a good group. I’ll put a link up on the front page… As for the idea of using the “Abandonment Society,” I like it, but I still think it’s a bit too reactive. For once, I’d like to give them something to respond to. (Have we done that since the New Deal?)

  10. Jack
    Posted February 7, 2005 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    I agree there needs to be something out there that is more proactive, but I’ll be danged if I found it yet.

    Rockridge Institute is a progressive think tank that was started by George Lakoff. If you haven’t read his book “Don’t think of an Elephant” it’s really a good read. (Although the cogent points are really covered at the RRI website)

  11. mark
    Posted February 7, 2005 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    OK, that makes sense. Thanks for letting me know, Jack… As for Lakoff’s book, it’s the next one on my reading list. (I’m just finishing up, “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” now.)

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