Wednesday, January 22, 2014

On Vacation, Back Soon

It takes a worried man to sing a worried song. I may be worried now, but I won't be worried long.

Will be back with a vengance in February. -- mj

Sunday, January 5, 2014

MSM Again Fail To Tell All Sides Of Story On 'Obamacare'

By Manifesto Joe

When it comes to the Affordable Care Act, known pejoratively to critics as "Obamacare," our Mainstream Media have, again and again, generally failed to tell the whole story. The reports have mostly focused on the early failures of the federal website, admittedly a debacle at first.

But there are other sides to this story that are rarely being told. One rare case was a recent lead story in the middle-market daily newspaper of Wichita Falls, Texas -- I believe it is called the Record-News, owned by the Scripps chain.

The report tells the story of Julie Coley of Wichita Falls, who signed up for "Obamacare" pretty much as a matter of necessity. Before, Julie and her husband, Jeff, could only get health insurance through the Texas High-Risk Pool. Their monthly premium was a ridiculous $839, with a yearly deductible of $7,500, which they could never meet. Why? Because Jeff Coley had pre-existing conditions such as congestive heart failure.

After obtaining a policy through the Affordable Care Act, Jeff and Julie now pay $349 a month, with an annual deductible of $1,500. She estimates that they save $600 a month after reductions in prescription drug costs are included in their medical budget. The couple are also now able to get preventive screening and diagnostic tests that they couldn't get through their old plan.

The Coleys are exactly the kinds of people that "Obamacare" is intended to help, and they are seeing the benefits come very quickly. But judging from the kind of coverage the MSM have usually been giving the "Obamacare" rollout, one wouldn't be able to tell that there are millions upon millions of Americans who have been facing the same predicaments as the Coleys.

Instead, the MSM have aped the rhetoric of the right wing, stressing the fiasco that was the botched IT when the federal website made its debut Oct. 1. Let's not kid ourselves -- the Republicans and those who sympathize with them want this broadened coverage to fail, and they don't make a secret of it. They really aren't interested in saving the lives of sick people -- they seem to want them to just die off, if that's what it takes to get their party back into power. The MSM, so often alleged to be "liberal," are blatantly playing along.

"THEY LIED," screams the cover of the ironically named "Reason" magazine, a libertarian mouthpiece. Shown with that is a picture of President Obama and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

I didn't read their cover article -- I've got to watch my blood pressure -- but I presume that what Obama and Pelosi were supposed to have lied about was that anybody who liked their health insurance policy as it was would be permitted to keep it.

Conveniently ignoring most of the facts

What is conveniently ignored, over and over, is that these policies that the insurance thieves have been canceling are generally cheap "junk" plans that have proved a gold mine for litigation lawyers across the country. The deductibles are ridiculously high, and they don't cover important points such as hospitalization and diagnostics. What is also conveniently ignored is that up to now the uninsured and underinsured have generally gone to charity hospitals and emergency rooms for late-stage treatment, which makes not only healthy people's insurance premiums and hospital bills go up, but their property taxes as well.

None of this should be shocking. For decades U.S. media consumers have been subjected to business coverage that is unabashedly biased in favor of wealthy people, the investment class, society's material "winners." Labor is given little voice, and working-class people are generally depicted as lazy spendthrifts who simply don't understand the struggles of multimillionaires to meet payrolls every couple of weeks. And now that Congress has failed to vote on extending benefits to millions of long-term jobless people, many more Americans face the precipice of homelessness as the U.S. "safety net" is relentlessly slashed again and again. Oh, and such people get sick, too.

I have no illusions about "Obamacare" being a very half-assed solution to a much bigger problem. Even with the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans will still not be able to get health insurance. Ultimately, the only solution will be a single-payer system, or Medicare-E (Medicare for everybody). Despite the shrill rhetoric one mostly hears nowadays, this problem isn't going to go away, and hence I would dare to predict that the U.S. will see single-payer fairly soon, perhaps within a decade.

But this will be no thanks to the MSM. Our allegedly "liberal" Mainstream Media outlets might as well be owned by the Republican Party, judging from the coverage they've given to this story. To slightly alter a phrase one used to see on bumper stickers displayed by right-wingers -- I don't believe the neoliberal media.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.