Posted 10 months ago on June 27, 2012, 12:52 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
On Thursday, June 28th, between 10am and 11am, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to announce its decision to uphold or strike down all or parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka “Obamacare.”
The same day from 11:30am to 1:30pm, workers and the community will rally against layoffs, healthcare cuts, and hospital closings at Downstate Hospital, a state hospital in Central Brooklyn that handled 75,000 ER visits last year and plays a vital role in the community.
What does the Supreme Court decision have to do with hospital closings in Brooklyn?
It’s quite simple. Both of these events were determined by policy written by and for the 1%.
Health Insurance Reform
Even if the ACA is upheld, and despite the best intentions of many advocates to defend it, the law was largely written by Liz Fowler, Vice President of Policy at the nation’s largest and most profitable health insurance company, WellPoint.
The law will deliver 20+ million new customers and $447 billion in taxpayer subsidies directly to the private health insurance companies, but leave at least 23 million uninsured, and millions more under-insured with inadequate health insurance coverage.
The cornerstone of the ACA is the individual mandate. This regressive policy requires that if you are not eligible for a public program (Medicare, Medicaid, the V.A.), you will then be forced to buy private health insurance, or remain uninsured and pay a fine. The 99% will have to pay a much higher percentage of their income than the affluent for their coverage, and older people pay more than younger people. A 43-year-old individual making 34,000 a year will pay $5,204 in premiums and deductibles before the insurance will kick in to only cover 60% of the cost of care.
Having insurance is no guarantee that you won’t go bankrupt should you have a serious illness or accident. Massachusetts implemented the individual mandate model in 2006, and their numbers still match the nation with 2/3 of all bankruptcies linked to medical debt, even though most people had insurance at the time of illness.
Massachusetts claims it has reduced the number of uninsured in the state by 60-80%, but the state safety net programs have been decimated. With pressure from the federal government, the law funneled public dollars at lightning speed to the private health insurance industry to subsidize their inadequate policies.
Healthcare suffers because these companies do not prioritize paying for care, but rather gobble up 30% of our healthcare dollar with shareholder profits, huge CEO salaries, marketing, high overhead and administrative costs (compared to Medicare with administrative costs of only 2%).
Lessons for New York State
As health reform Massachusetts tells us, health insurance does not equal healthcare. Our public programs will continue to pick up the slack while the free market diverts necessary funds to Wall Street.
In New York State, Governor Cuomo set up Brooklyn Hospitals to fail by cutting Medicaid reimbursements. Then he blamed hospitals for “inefficiency” therefore hospitals will be forced to layoff employees or close.
To make these hospital cuts, Cuomo appointed Wall Street financier Stephen Berger, the “Hospital Hatchet Man,” to head the Medicare Redesign Team (MRT). Berger released his plan in November 2011 calling for the closing and merging of hospitals throughout Brooklyn including closing in-patient services at Downstate and transferring out of the community to Long Island College Hospital.
The Brooklyn community was left out of these discussions while the 1% steamrolls their policies through the communities most impacted by cutting needed healthcare services.
Healthcare for the 99%
Healthcare for the 99% occupies Wall Street because Wall Street is occupying healthcare. In solidarity with community groups, Healthcare for the 99% calls on all people of conscience to join us to speak out at the upcoming actions this week in response to the Supreme Court decision and the layoffs and cuts at Downstate Hospital.
We believe that healthcare is a human right, not a commodity or a luxury for those who can afford it.
Together we will win a universal publicly funded system that guarantees affordable, comprehensive, high-quality healthcare for all – to many of us that means improved Medicare for All (a single-payer healthcare system), that brings everybody in, and kicks the corrupt health insurance industry out.
SAVE DOWNSTATE HOSPITAL
Thursday, June 28th 11:30am – 1:30pm
Downstate Hospital 470 Clarkson Ave, Brooklyn
More details at owshealthcare.wordpress.com
THE DAY AFTER THE SUPREME COURT DECISION:
RALLY FOR MEDICARE FOR ALL!
Friday, June 29th
@ the closed St. Vincent's Hospital (West 13th St @ 7th Avenue, Manhattan)