Despite its flaws, ‘I’d hold my nose and vote for’ reform, scholar tells Raw Story
He’s a hero of many progressives, but his enthusiasm for the passage of health care reform legislation this weekend was fairly muted.
In an interview with Raw Story, world-renowned scholar and political critic Noam Chomsky reluctantly called the bill a mildly positive step, but cautioned that it wouldn’t fix the fundamental problems with the nation’s troubled system.
“The United States’ health care system is so dysfunctional it has about twice the costs of comparable countries and some of the worst outcomes,” Chomsky told Raw Story. “This bill continues with that.”
The decades-long critic of corporate power alleged that premiums won’t stop rising as the package is designed in no small part to funnel money into the pockets of the health care industry. “The bill gives away a lot to insurance companies and big pharmaceutical corporations,” he said.
The legislation forbids government from negotiating prices with pharmaceutical companies or permitting the importation of drugs. Nor does it provide competition to private insurers, an oligopolistic industry that will maintain its impunity from antitrust laws. But despite this, Chomsky, an advocate for a single-payer system, said killing the bill wasn’t a better solution.
“If I were in Congress,” he said, “I’d probably hold my nose and vote for it, because the alternative of not passing it is worse, bad as this bill is. Unfortunately, that’s the reality.”
“If it fails, it wouldn’t put even limited constraints on insurance companies,” he explained, noting that the bill “at least has some steps towards barring the withholding of policies from people with prior disabilities.” The consumer protections from dodgy insurance practices are among the bill’s most popular components.
The mandate to purchase insurance has been a central qualm of progressives and conservatives opposed to the effort. Chomsky, while admitting it’s a boon to insurance companies, called it a “step toward universality,” asserting that “without some kind of mandatory coverage, nothing is going to work at all.”
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor added that it’s a damning referendum on American democracy that one of the most highly supported components of the effort nationally, the public insurance option, was jettisoned. He partly blamed the media for refusing to stress how favorably it’s viewed by the populace.
“It didn’t have ‘political support,’ just the support of the majority of the population,” Chomsky quipped, “which apparently is not political support in our dysfunctional democracy.”
The provision has consistently polled well, garnering the support of sixty percent of Americans across the nation in a CBS/New York Times poll released in December, days after it was eliminated from the reform package. Democratic leaders deemed it politically untenable.
“There should be headlines explaining why, for decades, what’s been called politically impossible is what most of the public has wanted,” Chomsky said. “There should be headlines explaining what that means about the political system and the media.”
Oil prices soar more than 10% after Saudi plant attacks
Oil prices surged more than 10 percent Monday after attacks on two Saudi Arabian plants that slashed output in the world's top producer by half, with Donald Trump blaming Iran and raising the possibility of a military strike on the country.
West Texas Intermediate jumped 10.68 percent to $60.71 and Brent climbed 11.77 percent to $67.31 in early Asia trading following the blasts at facilities run by state-owned giant Aramco.
The attack by Tehran-backed Huthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war, effectively shut down six percent of the global oil supply.
Trump used to play Elton John at ‘eardrum-rupturing decibels’ on campaign plane for a bizarre reason: AP reporter
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski mocked President Donald Trump's fixation on singer Elton John.
The rock legend reportedly rejected his longtime fan's invitation to perform at his January 2017 inauguration, and Trump has bitterly fixated on breaking John's attendance records at arenas where he holds campaign rallies.
"The saddest part of this story was when Donald Trump asked his staff members had anybody been writing about the Elton John attendance records that he supposedly broke," Scarborough said. "They said no, and he was angry and upset for days about that, also claiming that it was one more example of how, in the immortal words of Rodney Dangerfield, he don't get no respect."
‘RIP GOP’: Polling expert predicts devastating Trump 2020 electoral wipeout
Democratic pollster and strategist Stanley Greenberg went on CNN Monday to explain why he believes President Donald Trump and the Republican Party are headed toward a historic and humiliating defeat in the 2020 elections.
In an interview with CNN's John Berman, Greenberg discussed his new book called "RIP GOP" in which he makes a case that Trump's presidency has shifted public opinion in Democrats' favor while repelling moderate voters from the Republican Party.
"I think what happened going into 2016 is Donald Trump took over the Tea Party base of the party, allied it with evangelicals and took the party to a very extreme end," he said. "I believe... Donald Trump's election will speed the defeat of the Republican Party because of its dominance by the Tea Party and evangelicals, which won't consider compromise, which won't consider a multicultural America in a part of our future. And I also thought it would speed up the resistance and also people's consciousness of what they believe and their values, and all of that has happened."