Economic neoliberalism, or free market fundamentalism, has been at work for decades in America transferring more and more wealth from the masses to the ONE%. Privatization of all that is public (SS, Medicare, pensions, etc.), or putting it on the back of individual consumers,is key to this transfer. Another avenue for this transfer has been the marketization of Health care where the public option was avoided in favor of uncontrolled private corporations.
The quotes below are from an article that details a thorough history of the privatization of our health care since WWII and, to some extent, health care in Europe.
Unfortunately, America is leading the way for the economic neoliberal approach. This model has, and will continue to, transfer more wealth from the many to the ONE% as we all pay more for health care, or decide to purchase something else and risk catastrophic illness. It will cost us more and more for health care as employers and the government reduce coverage and increase copays and deductibles.
“The neoliberal turn in American health care, that is to say, is part of a much more fundamental transformation, beyond the borders of both America and of health care, and away from the promise of economic justice itself.
“While the ACA will undoubtedly help many, there can be no mistaking the close resemblance of Obama’s plan to Nixon’s, and of its marked divergence from the universalism of Kennedy’s. The health care political center, in other words, has moved to the right very sharply indeed. Perhaps the greatest testament to this is the fact that the ACA, despite its roots in the proposals of moderate conservatives of previous eras, is now deemed rank socialism by today’s conservatives.
“But beneath the complexity of the law, the essence of the neoliberal vision … becomes clear. The fundamental social-democratic idea of universalism — of an entire population with the equal right to equally comprehensive health care benefits — has all but disappeared from the political center.
“The doctrine of consumer choice, whether with respect to the selection of tiered “bronze, silver, or gold” health benefits, or of choosing to divide one’s ‘own money’ between health care and other goods, has been almost quietly triumphant. Of course, this great neoliberal transformation in the political economy of American health care wasn’t the result of the vagaries of nature or the unique cultural proclivities of Americans: it was part and a parcel of a much larger corporate-driven transformation [as laid out in The Powell Plan of 1971], which, over these same years, has drastically exacerbated inequality while simultaneously fraying the substance of American civic democracy.”
Two elements of this history that were not pointed out directly were:
- Harry Truman became president because the Democratic party ousted FDR’s progressive vide-president Henry Wallace. The possibility of universal health care was pretty well doomed at that point.
- In 1971, Lewis Powell wrote a memo at the request of his close friend and head of the US Chamber of Commerce. The Powell memo formalized the development of a national messaging system to promote the neoliberal policies discussed in this article. This new system, including The Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute, was effective as soon as the Carter Administration.
While low overhead universal health care is held in abeyance by a minority of wealthy, economic neoliberals, where’s their “Wal Mart” of healthcare to provide capitalism’s cost effective replacement? It’s not going to happen. There’s still more wealth to transfer and expanding uncontrolled health care is accelerating the rate of transfer.