Friday Feedback: Divestment Is the Answer

istock_000001483014xsmall.jpgFridays the LA Progressive features a comment that was particularly noteworthy. This week we are featuring a comment submitted by Teri Szucs commenting on “Margaret Flowers Makes the Continuing Case for Single-Payer Reform.”
Here’s Teri’s comment:

Single Payer is by far the best path, actually the only path. The pitch and claim for the Public Option is “Keeping the insurance companies honest.” Really? If I break the law I get prosecuted, fined, and jailed, that simple – do the crime – pay the time or the fine. That should keep them honest. Congress passes laws, and if they violate those or cheat they are out of the game.

The second pitch for the Public Option is cost control. According to the President, if you hate what you have you are stuck, in other words, the PO is nothing more than a tax subsidized high risk/low income health care subsidy, and like Medicare – a limited admission club.

The rest of us, like me, are thrown to the wolves.

If the true purpose of the PO was to control costs it could be done with a pen stroke by declaring insurance companies a public utility, which they are. Like AT&T or your electric company. If the mighty AT&T and Edison companies can be subjected to this level of price control and regulation, why not the insurance companies?

Why? The answer, once again: Wall Street greed! Insurance companies and their obscene profits are a big fat part of all our portfolios, including union’s retirement plans, (that is why the AFL/CIO opposes opening the Public Option as a real choice for everyone) including the pension plans of all our cities and states.

We should all take a good hard look at the portfolios of those states represented by the blue dogs for instance. The refusal of their Senators and Congressional Representatives would then, I am sure, make sense.

Wall Street, having seen the plunge of Lehman Brothers and AIG has no intention of allowing health insurance companies, the most profitable of them all, to go down the drain. No way. Now maybe this explains why, when 65% of the voting public wants real reform, single payer, nothing happens.

No maybe about it! This explains why none of the other high power corporations, automakers, Coca Cola, the usually liberal Hollywood studios, just to name a few, and all our Senators, Republican and Democrat and even President Obama, are not demanding single payer. Their executives and their unions, their cities and states, their school boards, also own a piece of the insurance pie

Do you have a pension fund, mutual fund, an IRA, a 401k? Congratulations, then you too own a piece of a health insurance company.

Protecting such investments can be a costly trap. Saving comes after necessary expenses, including health insurance; it is 25% of my income. After years of paying an absurd amount of money, if I ever get sick (I will one day, we all do.) — I will go broke in a blink anyway.

Unless we demand healthcare as a basic civil right, the tangled web is in so many of our pockets it will forever keep us trapped.

Now, I do not believe that reaching our goal of universal healthcare under a single payer system should take a huge toll on everyone’s savings, so let’s divest.

Let us all call our brokers, our pension funds administrators, our banks and divest from health insurance companies.

Call your school board, your union, you mayor, your college, your governor, your employer, and ask them to divest their pensions and investments from all health insurance companies stock.

Just like they did once with South African gold coins, or today with Sierra Leone conflict diamonds, all major institutions refused to trade in inhumanity, so le’s add the health insurance co. to the list.

First, make sure you dump your own, then start writing, calling and campaigning within your own communities, unions, cities, schools, etc.

If we remove the risk of a big down slide for all of us and all of the powerful big investors on Wall Street this strong resistance to single payer health care and the demise of the health care insurance companies will be less of a real financial and practical threat to anyone.


  1. says

    Finally, some clear analysis, and a plan for action! Connecting this response to Bill Moyers’ recent spiel: makes it clear that we MUST move in a rational, deliberate path to wrest the reins of power from the Special Interests, Military-Industrial Complex, Robber Barons… whatever we may call them today. I’ve… WE’ve got a lot of studying to do, to get it right.

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