March 24, 2010

The Peace and Freedom Party does not favor the for-profit health care system that is emerging as Congress and the President pass and sign bills this week to implement a new complex of laws, regulations and federal expenditures in the field of medicine. This is no victory for the people, but a victory for the profiteers who own the insurance, pharmaceutical and for-profit medical care corporations whose lobbyists wrote the bills. The passage of these bills is another demonstration of the fact that the Democratic Party, like the Republican Party, is a corporate-controlled organization that cannot defy its wealthy bankrollers.

What kind of medical care system does the Peace and Freedom Party want?

The short and simple answer is that we want the best possible medical care system for our people, without the involvement of profiteers at any level, with continuing research aimed at improving the lives and health of everyone, and with full and complete coverage for everyone in our country, whether citizen, non-citizen, or visitor.

There are countries where each of these conditions exists, though not all national health plans incorporate all these features. It is important to learn from experience abroad, as all other industrialized countries already have health plans that cover everyone.

In many countries, patients must pay something for their care. We prefer a system that is not financed at all from patient fees, but is completely covered through other sources of funds. Medical care should be free to the patient, so that no one avoids needed care out of financial hardship.

In some countries, care is provided through for-profit health care organizations. We would prefer that all organizations involved in health care be non-profit, whether run directly by federal, state or local government, or by unions, or by traditional non-profit organizations, or by other cooperatives or collaboratives. When the motive is profit, the good health of the patient is not the goal, though that may incidentally result when it does not conflict with profit.

In some countries, certain types of care are provided, but others are not. We believe that all kinds of care that benefit patients should be provided, including medical, dental, nursing, chiropractic, and other effective methods. We favor leaving the decisions about the patient's health to the patient, whenever possible, or the appropriate relatives or friends designated by the patient when the patient is unable to make decisions. But the purpose of the medical care system is to improve the lives and health of patients, not to improve the "bottom line" or satisfy cost-benefit analysts. We oppose political restrictions on types of care provided, for example on birth control, abortion, certain kinds of research, and other restrictions used by cynical demagogic politicians to appeal to particular religious or political groups to stay in power.

We believe that quality must be the paramount consideration, that procedures and personnel must be subject to appropriate review by representatives of medical, nursing, and support staff and of patients and the general public. Sufficient financing for the medical care system must be provided, and of course this will be easier when no profits are siphoned off, and the hundreds of thousands of people now paid to restrict care, collect bills, and save money for insurance companies are shifted to productive work.

The initial source of any additional funds for medical care should be increased taxes on the income and assets of the super-rich. Over time, we believe that the source of funds should be shifted to the surplus generated by publicly-owned industries, agriculture, oil wells, mines, and other productive portions of the economy. But it is important to note that should the profiteering, and the wasteful spending by insurance companies on restricting care, be ended tomorrow, we would free up sufficient funds to provide the best medical care in the world for all the residents of the USA. Our present system ranks below 30th place in the world in quality, but our expenditures on health care are the highest in the world.

Do others share our vision? Yes, over a hundred million Americans. Big organizations of physicians and nurses strongly favor some sort of public not-for-profit health care plan. Most community organizations that have studied the question agree. While there are differences on the details, the basic outline is pretty plain - and very unlike the plan the profiteers just got through Congress.

As the chillingly bad details of the present plan emerge over the next months and years, we must not say, "Well, we tried." We must keep on fighting, keep on educating people, keep on explaining the real solutions to our problems, and never let up in our push for a real national health care system that will benefit patients and their families, medical and support staff, and our whole people.

Some of the obstacles include spending run amok on imperial wars, the acceptance of corporate power by both big political parties represented in Congress, and a determination by the wealthiest Americans and their servants in government that working people be hampered, exploited and oppressed at every turn.

In order to reach our goals, we must work for a future in which money no longer runs our government, in which it can no longer be said that humans have no rights that a corporation must respect, in which the working people of our country take control of their own destiny, and that of our country. We welcome you all to the struggle, and pledge that the Peace and Freedom Party will work with all of you for the common good.

Kevin Akin
California State Chair
Peace and Freedom Party

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