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H.R. 3962, the health care act that squeaked by the U.S. House of Representatives last Saturday, is an insurance industry- written and driven bill that will enrich private health insurance companies by requiring Americans to buy their defective and expensive insurance.

According to progressive Congressman Dennis Kucinich: “In H.R. 3962, the government is requiring at least 21 million Americans to buy private health insurance from the very industry that causes costs to be so high, which will result in at least $70 billion in new annual revenue [for the insurance companies], much of which is coming from taxpayers. This inevitably will lead to even more costs, more subsidies, and higher profits for insurance companies — a bailout under a blue cross.”

Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program says that: “They’ve merely made private health insurance mandatory for middle-income working people and are forcing those folks to take lots of money out of their pocket to buy this defective product.”

Regarding the public option, Woolhandler points out it is “incredibly puny” and that according to the Congressional Budget Office, fewer than 2 percent of Americans will enroll (people who have coverage from their employer are ineligible) and premiums will be higher than in the private sector. Ralph Nader points out that the public option “will be a receptacle for the sickest of patients among the meager number of people who qualify for its coverage.”

Nader also criticizes the lack of any effective cost containment (wasn’t that supposed be a key goal of Obama’s reform?) or prevention measures. And the bill won’t even take effect until 2013.

The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center agrees with Kucinich, Nader and Woolhandler that we need to go back to the drawing board, reject the phony reform and work for single-payer national health insurance, a system in which a single public or quasi-public agency organizes health financing, but delivery of care remains largely private (i.e., Medicare). Let’s fight for what we really want: healthcare for all as a right at a cost our society can afford.

Call senators Michael Bennett and Mark Udall and Congressman Jared Polis (who voted for H.R. 3962) at 1-800-828-0498 and tell them we want single-payer, Medicare for all, not phony insurance industry-driven reform.

Call the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, at 303-444-6981 ext. 2, to get involved.

Carolyn Bninski is on the staff of RMPJC.