Kill so-called health care reform legislation UNLESS:
1) the public option is available to ALL;
2) the status quo ante is restored for private insurance coverage of reproductive decisions, including abortion;
3) public option coverage for individuals honors the complete reproductive rights of individuals;
4) the provision for government intervention into low income families with children through home visits is removed;1
5) price controls on premiums are added; and
6) the scope of the basic benefits package is specified in the statute rather than delegated to an invisible administrative committee that will easily be captured by monied interests.
There are other reasons to defeat the current bills, no doubt.
The good parts of the bills — eg, no exclusions for pre-existing conditions — can be legislated separately. It makes no sense to authorize massive government income transfers to for-profit insurance companies. The structure of the current legislation, from abortion through the public option, will deepen inequalities in health coverage and provision, notwithstanding the extension of coverage to many who currently are uninsured.
Enough pussyfooting in the White House and horse-trading in Congress. Back to the drawing boards — this time Medicare for All.
1 Fertility Control of the Poor: The House Bill includes a section calling for home visits to poor pregnant families and poor families with children to provide cultural/relational and reproductive counseling. This provision is NOT about the delivery of medical services. It is about making the poor “self-sufficient” and less “dependent” on public assistance. In addition to providing for social/cultural interventions, the provision calls for INCREASING BIRTH INTERVALS among the poor — READ: fertility control.
Gwendolyn Mink is the author of Welfare’s End (1998; rev. ed. 2002), a Choice magazine “Outstanding Academic Book”; Hostile Environment (2000); The Wages of Motherhood (1995), which won the 1996 Victoria Schuck Book Award of the American Political Science Association; and Old Labor and New Immigrants in American Political Development (1986). She is editor of Whose Welfare? (1999); co-editor (with Wilma Mankiller, Marysa Navarro, Barbara Smith, and Gloria Steinem) of The Reader’s Companion to U.S. Women’s History (1998); co-editor (with Rickie Solinger) of Welfare: A Documentary History of Policy and Politics (2003); and co-editor (with Alice O’Connor) of Poverty: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, and Policy (2 volumes, 2004). This article is a composite of entries first published in the Social Justice blog on 10 and 11 November 2009; it is reproduced here for non-profit educational purposes.