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Fully Raw Cannibals and My Obamacare Nightmare

Re: Conservative reactions to marriage equality, Atrios wrote the following last week:

Marriage equality was supposed to be a “conservative” gay rights issue. And, yes, more lefty queer people (speaking generally) weren’t initially thrilled with it becoming the central gay rights issue of our time. As homophobia is the last truly acceptable bigotry (deeply held sincere beliefs!!!), conservatives were never going to be on the correct side of that issue, no matter how many times Glenn Reynolds tells us that Dick Cheney was a gay marriage pioneer.

Unfortunately, homophobia is not the last truly acceptable bigotry. It is far more likely that fully raw cannibals will achieve acceptance and equality before women do.

***************************************

Now that Sebelius has taken the fall for the fiasco that is Obamacare, I thought I’d relate my own experience with it. Disclaimer: I am not a Republican. I don’t hate Obamacare because it is a government program that saps “freedom” (aka tax money) from Jahb Creaturz. No, I am in favor of a national health care policy that uses the best practices that other industrialized countries have put in place. You know, universal mandates for individuals AND employers, cost controls on the medical industry, public options. I was brought up on military medicine and if it was good enough for my sister with chronic severe asthma, by golly, it’s good enough for me. I don’t need frills.

Anyway…

I recently attended a younger cousin’s birthday party. My relatives sat around and compared plans. This group was a mix of ages, employment situations, number of dependents, personal wealth. The bad news for the Democrats is that no one likes Obamacare. Not one of them. In Pittsburgh, the effect of Obamacare is pronounced because two major insurance carriers in the region are battling and one of them, UPMC, refuses to contract with Highmark BC/BS. That leaves Highmark customers scrambling to find new doctors and praying that if they do have an emergency, they don’t get carted off to one of the ubiquitous UPMC hospitals where they will get socked with a massive out of network price structure. They played nicely before Obamacare but no more.

The problem of insurance plans is particularly acute for those of us who fall into the precariat class and Obamacare falls severely short there. Let me explain from my own experience.

Last year, I got a full time job. Unfortunately, it was a temp position. Temp positions mean no benefits and because it was pre-Obamacare, I paid premiums that were out the wazoo. Because it was a position in an academic lab that was facing economic stress from the sequester, it only lasted until December. Thank you, House of Representatives, Senate and Executive branch. At that time, I could no longer afford the $992/month premium on my health insurance policy. Fortunately, my now non-existent salary meant that kid now qualifies for Medicaid. Ok. Kid taken care of. Great. Now for me.

I went on the Obamacare website and looked for a new policy from my existing carrier. By the way, my carrier called me to tell me the “good news!” that due to Obamacare, they could shave the cost of my old policy down from $992/month to $750/month! Isn’t that great?? The new policy came with supercool new features too. I tried to explain to the customer service rep that I was between jobs and $750/month for a healthy person my age was out of the question but I don’t think she was really listening. I decided to try for a subsidy.

On the healthcare.gov site, I saw some policies in the $400-500 range with reasonable $1000/year deductibles. Great! With the amazing subsidies I’ve been hearing about, I should get a pretty reasonable rate. But I found that there’s always a glitch to these sites or something that needs to be explained to a real person so I decided to apply on the phone instead. This was a mistake.

The navigator asked me questions about my income, (um, non-existent? but only temporarily) and started going through the plans. They weren’t anything like the ones on the website. They were more expensive, had higher deductibles and even the silver plans sounded much more like the bronze plans. It was like the online site and the phone assistance sites were totally different. He quoted me a plan that was similar to the one I already had but it was a more restrictive HMO and the deductible is $3750/year. This was a silver plan. I asked him the price and as we were talking the price of the plan went up. Yeah, it was like buying a plane ticket. The price was changing before his eyes.

Then I asked him what kind of subsidy I was going to get. The answer: none. I was startled. Why am I not getting a subsidy?? Because, he said condescendingly, you don’t have an income and aren’t paying taxes.

I have to stop for a second, oh best beloveds, because I suddenly became livid remembering the decades past where I paid more in taxes in a year than I expect to make in income this year. That really scorched my oatmeal. Apparently, to this smug asshole, I am just a deadbeat.

Then he recommended that I just pay the penalty and skip signing up for a plan. That made me really mad. So, now I am going to be a burden on the taxpayers if my conversation with this navigator gives me a stroke and I end up in a UPMC hospital.

I considered my options. I don’t want medicaid for myself because I don’t want my heirs to end up penniless when the state of Pennsylvania swoops down to recover assets from my estate to cover the medicaid premium. This scenario reminds me of the starving Irish who had to give up the last quarter acre of land before they could get food in a workhouse. I worked very hard for decades for the house that I have. I do have money from the sale of my house in NJ in savings but due to the nature of the job market, I have to hold on to that money to pay for the now perpetually temporary nature of making a living. I have TAXES to pay to my municipality for trash pickup, libraries, roads and schools, all of which I am happy to finance.

I reluctantly signed up for the $500 plan. Then I found a job. BUT it’s only part time and, of course, it doesn’t come with bennies. I don’t know if I can get a subsidy now and until my job situation improves, I’m very reluctant to pay the premium on this crappy plan. I am now without health insurance for the first time since 1986.

But wait! There’s more!

It turns out that temp jobs and part time work is very in fashion this year. It is extremely difficult to get a full time job with benefits. There are such jobs to be had but getting through the HR filters is like tilting at windmills. (If anyone in the Pittsburgh area has an opening, let me know. I have great references.) I think I got my current part time job because I aced the online assessment test. Unfortunately, not enough sites have such assessment tests so we are forced to mind read what most job posters have in mind.

So, my relatives and I compared plans. It turns out that I have the worst plan at the highest price. One cousin had to change her doctors completely. Another cousin has a serious heart condition but hasn’t landed any work yet, so, no coverage. When his prescription from another state expires in August, he’s screwed. Another cousin just lost his job. He’d been working for 6 months but just when his health benefits were supposed to kick in, he was laid off. How conveeeeenient. Ironically, it is my self-employed cousins who have the best policy. We share the same insurance carrier but, for some mysterious reason we can’t figure out, he pays something like $450/month for 4 people and has a low deductible. It makes me wonder how the rates are determined.

The relatives that are doing well under Obamacare are the young, single male relatives. Their rates are something under $100/month. The ones who are doing the worst are the ones 45-65 and who don’t have steady jobs. The number of relatives with crap jobs is steadily rising. If you own your own business, rates seem to be fairly reasonable when obtained directly from the carrier.

And here is where the rumors start. We are all convinced that the reason there is so much part time and temp work with impending layoffs just when you reach the bennies mark is because employers do not want to have to pay benefits and Obamacare means they don’t have to. The mandate only applies to the individual. It won’t kick in for employers for another year- if ever. BUT if you can only get part time and temp work, you do not have the money to pay for the premiums. It’s a catch 22 scenario.

Was there no one running the models when this law was written??

I really wish Paul Krugman would stop crowing about Obamacare. It’s a conservative Republican plan passed by Democrats and it now has a “liberal” sticker on it, whether it is deserved or not. It has opened the door to a race to the bottom in terms of benefits and it’s going to damage the Democratic party. It was an ill considered, poorly implemented plan with long ranging consequences to the working class (that is, everyone not making an income from their investments). AND since I read the new Michael Lewis book on compromised stock exchanges, it has dawned on me that the health care exchanges are equally prone to exploit the unaware. We don’t know what our neighbors are getting in terms of plans but it seems like each premium is calculated to optimize profits for someone.

You don’t have to be a Republican to hate Obamacare. Democrats should be very afraid.

 

 

 

 

49 Responses

  1. It is still acceptable, even encouraged in many circles, to be a geographic bigot. Being a Southern High Country liberal, I am acutely aware of references about incest, dental hygiene, the lack of footware, inbred retardation, ignorance. being a Red State leech, and other, less endearing, insults, all of which seems golly-gee-just-okay because “you started the Civil War and we kicked your ass.” Appalachian women, and Southern women in general, have it worse, of course, because you are absolutely correct in your assertion about gender discrimination. The late great Shirley Chisholm once remarked that she experienced more discrimination as a woman rather than as a person of color, and in her time that is really saying something. Of course, society is trying, somewhat successfully, to rid itself of genderism, but I see no signs of even an attempt at a lessening of regional bigotry. (Sorry for the vent but I just ran into it from a person I respected and I’m very disappointed.)

    • A word-cluster for that mindset might be . . . antiSouthernism, AntiSouthernitic, antiSouthernite.

      “That’s antiSouthernitic antiSouthernism, you culturacist antiSouthernite.”

  2. They should be, but they aren’t. Because they are counting on voters having “nowhere else to go.” And maybe they are right-it worked twice for Obama. (Though less well for Congress.)

    • A way around that might be for enough millions of disaffected democrats to invade the Republican primaries and vote for a nominee they could at least live with as president. Then they are free to go some third place else during the election. I voted Romney in the Michigan primary so I would feel free to vote against Obama one way or another. The view that establishment Republicans are “worse” than establishment Democrats has been shown to be outdated.
      The inner establishment will try to get the Rs to nominate some hideous gargoyle such as Huckabee or Santorum or someone equally scary so as to scare people into voting for the Democrats’s next Obama figure.

  3. If I hear one more booster crowing about how Obamacare is providing universal (lie) affordable (lie) healthcare (lie) I may start voting Republican out of pure spite.

  4. RD, I hope you will forgive a somewhat off-topic comment. But I’m writing a book that will give a precis of the strangeness that hit blogworld in 2008. You were the queen and conscience of the PUMA movement. Do you have any pithy quotable words you’d like to contribute?

    Specifically: Looking back, do you think that Obama mania was a genuinely spontaneous eruption, or do you think that the whole thing was engineered by manipulators who worked the blogs using personas? Do you agree with my contention that blogs (not television) were the true drivers of the national conversation during that primary fight? And what do you think was the shiftiest trick employed by the Obama forces against the Clinton forces?

    I know you had your say throughout 2008. But some time has passed, and I wonder which parts of that awful year are still galling.

    • If Obamamania was a genuinely spontaneous eruption, I am the Emperor of Japan. 😛

    • I’ll keep saying what I’ve said before. Nothing good comes from a bad seed. Obama’s future performance was evident from the beginning. If you were paying attention and voted for him anyway, thinking that he was going to be some liberal messiah, you should have your head examined.
      I watched the beginning of the Obama phenomenon when I was still posting on DailyKos and went to YearlyKos in 2007. My best guess is that the original candidate of choice over there was John Edwards but shortly after YearlyKos, the cat was out of the bag about his personal life. That would explain why the conversion diaries and rec list hostage crisis pivoted from Edwards to Obama in a heartbeat over there. The manipulators looked like the same people to me but an edgier, meaner and more testosterone poisoned bunch seemed to infiltrate the blog at about the same time the switch from Edwards to Obama happened.
      I don’t believe that blogs were the true drivers but they were an essential component. Kos used to say that Kossacks were not like average Americans. Kossacks are political junkies and activists. So, while many of them get involved in campaigns directly and were a substantial base of volunteer efforts like DFA, their impact is somewhat limited. They have more influence on their own and related groups. In 2008, they were like an insurgent group that had reached critical mass within the party, which is what DFA had been hoping for.
      But the bigger behind the scenes actors must have been in the party itself. How else could they have planned to give so much clout to the sparsely populated mountain states? How did the caucus states get the delegate representation it did? How the hell did one candidate wind up winning CA, NY, NJ, FL, PA, OH, TX, MA, NV, NM, essentially ALL of the major, most populated, most Democratic states in the country and still lose to a candidate who wasn’t even on the ballot in some primaries? The evidence is staring us in the face that the primary was rigged to some extent. Clinton should have won early in the primary season. I don’t know how insidery Kos was to the machinations of the DNC but YearlyKos 1 in Las Vegas had some strategists suggesting that it was OK to right off all of the states below the mason dixon line because they weren’t going to vote for a Democrat in the general anyway and Kos was infatuated with Brian Schweitzer and the west in general as being an untapped source of votes.
      And then there was the infiltration. There was a glut of campaign money to Obama in February 2008. The blogs got nastier and more misogynistic. I think this was the point when Wall Street picked its candidate. If you want a pithy quote, my best attempt is that Wall Street saw Obama as an enabler and Clinton as rehab and they said no, no, no. Obama was one of their own tribe. That’s what is so funny about the blogosphere backing Obama. He was so obviously not what they said they wanted. He was a corporate schmoozer. He would have made a great CEO of some fortune 500 company. You know, the guy they bring in to engineer some merger or acquisition, hangs around to get a humongous bonus and then decides to “spend more time with his family” when the newly merged company starts hitting the skids. THAT’S Obama. He’s the guy who negotiates the deal on the golf course in an industry he knows very little about. He just has the right pedigree and chromosomes to get to the top. Getting to the top is the goal. He didn’t really have a plan after that.
      After the money picked the candidate and the party was primed to rig the nomination, it was easy for the media to jump in and fan the flames. To the media, it was just like high school. They liked the BMOC and not the girl. I don’t think there’s much more to be said there. It really was that petty.
      We can’t discount the effect of the civil rights movement on the early baby boomers. It was the defining issue of their lives, aside from Vietnam. To late baby boomers like myself, well, I was in Obama’s cohort in school. Schools were largely integrated by the time I was a kid, or at least the ones I went to near military installations were. The civil rights movement was still important but not a burning passion. To me, feminism was the defining issue of my age. I think the campaign analysts played on that divide and the early baby boomers were snookered.
      The nastiest thing the Obama campaign did to Clinton’s campaign was, well, there were so many, but I think the worst was denying her a legitimate roll call at the convention. But of course, they couldn’t really give her one because even the media would get a clue that the delegate count difference between them was slimmer than the width of a gnat’s wing. There might have been a floor fight. The party didn’t want anyone rocking the boat, especially the voters. I get it because they were desperate to win. But the ends do not justify the means and when you start with a bad beginning, it ends badly.

      • Love you, kid, and let’s not forget how ballistic the Kennedy Klan went after Hillary gave a nod to LBJ as a champion of civil rights.

      • Oh, yeah. That was 2008. Still leaves a bad taste.

      • Wow. It’s good to have you back. You and Joseph Cannon along with Anglechel. Lambert, Vast Left, and even Myiq (before he found fame as a right winger) kept my appetite for non-aligned commentary on the 2008 debacle satisfied Those who would rewrite history need to be allowed to edify themselves with your insights.

        Most recently danps at Correntewire with this comment to Lambert’s post
        (http://correntewire.com/three_questions_about_the_2008_campaign) picking up on Cannon’s question:

        “It might be pretty for her 2008 supporters to recast it all as a tale of skullduggery, subversion and deception instead of Clinton kicking it away…”

      • Clinton as rehab”

        One look at Chelsea tells me her mother is definitely not rehab.

  5. RD — that’s it. EXACTLY. Perfectly put. Thank you so much.

    And don’t accuse me of brown-nosing if I say once again that you are a great writer. I don’t brown nose. I call ’em as I see ’em.

    • Mr. Cannon,

      Is this book going to be an ink-on-paper book or an “e”-book? Or both?

      • I was thinking both. I’d like it to be affordable.

        • A tree book would be good in that if the internet is taken down and “go-darked” for real, there will still be books out there which would have to be physically seized to be destroyed.

          An e-book would be good in that it could offer links to relevant videos and articles which a paper-book really could not do.

          • r u reddy, wouldn’t this ebook you describe as being more useful become useless if there was no internet due to the links in it not working?

          • Chris S.,

            An ebook’s links would only be as good as the links which work. I hadn’t thought of that. I was thinking of the government Overclass complex shutting the entire internet all the way down. Or shutting down certain politically targetted links. I feel confident that anyone writing an ebook would check to be sure that any offered links still work.

        • Naked Capitalism has/had many videos and articles, etc. that revealed (especially the videos) the gleeful sadism of Obama’s lying.
          But I don’t know if they are findable in any one linked place on that blog. Some of the videos of Obama talking are so damning that they would be worth linking to if any of the NaCap people had the time/energy to tell you exactly where their own links to them are. Perhaps Mr. Lambert and fellows at Corrente (perhaps Hugh?) could assemble the most damning ones and links together in one place.

          • Here is a link to a counterpunch article about Obama’s personal delivery of a commencent address at a college. The author notes the visibly draculoid cold soulless evil of Obama in person.
            http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/17/is-obama-the-scariest-president-ever/

            Why would I mention this in a thread about a prospective book about the DParty-Overclass complex stealing the nomination for Obama? Perhaps the first little into to such a book might be an overview of Obama’s deceit and evil designed to briefly show what Obamism has really brought us in practice. Then such a book could ask the question: how could this happen? Who diddit and how did they do it?

          • And then a section about why did they do it and for whose benefit? A listing of all big contributors to the Obama campaign might be nice. Link the donors to beneficiaries of Obamist government initiatives.
            I have also read about rumors of massive rich-donor smurfing of funds, through many thousands of pretended persons to look like a cloud of small donors. I don’t know the truth of that but it is worth looking into, I should think.

    • Please include in your book material 1 about the huge numbers of GOP crossover voters who registered as Democrats six months or more in advance to vote for Obama, also the huge numbers of sockpuppets on blogs who would drown out any constructive conversation with something luch like the conversation between two ELIZA robotic psychotherapists at masswerk.js Also, I was told by a friend in the PR/advertising biz that the following research paper made a big splash around then: You’ll see it applies: “Social integration of robots into groups of cockroaches to control self-organized choices” Also, you should mention that our overaggressive neoliberal free trade policy was probably behind the creation of a neo-liberal coalition to prevent real health care reform (not that Hillary was up to the task either but she was less predictable than a candidate who they controlled) I base that theory on the fact that it appears that all of the real money savers were off the table before the beginning of the campaign and the putting of them off the table by Obama (see PhRMA Tauzin deal) was just a cover story. I base this on this paper whose author suddenly died when it was published: http://www.pnhp.org/sites/default/files/Nick%20Skala%20GAT%20and%20Health%20Reform.pdf

      The WTO GATS, TISA, TPP, NAFTA, etc, and others like them, seems to have been their real plan to block single payer forever. Currently in progress.

      • The non-response by democrats to documented fraud in Nevada for instance was an indication of how deeply the fix was in:

        The election irregularities (caucus fraud) committed by the Obama campaign documented, not just in Texas, would have done credit to Huey Long.

        For those interested see the Clnton lawyers letter to the Nevada Democratic Party.

        Clinton Campaign Responds To Obama’s In Nevada – Marc Ambinder – The Atlantic
        The Clinton team alleges that caucus cards were “premarked” for Obama, that Obama precinct chairs delibaretly miscounted votes, that young children were counted as having voted for Obama, that Clinton caucus goers were asked to leave before official counts were taken.
        http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2008/01/clinton-campaign-res

        clinton_complaint12308.pdf
        http://husaria.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/clinton_complaint12308.pdf

      • Wow. Thanks, Chris…actually, that “robot cockroach” paper is really interesting…weird, but yeah, definitely germane.

        • Check out the Skala paper, its a bombshell.

          • After reading the Skala paper, I see the real possibility that the actions of Obama et.al. in precluding any possibility of enactment of anything approaching single-payer, were criticalin ensuring that a purely private healthcare industry remained in place, so that future trade negotiations could enshrine that system-

            Making any future push for a National Healthcare System not only impossible, but illegal.

            The paper below is bring more insight into this:

            The General Agreement On Trade In Services: Implications For Health Policymakers

            Leah Belsky, Reidar Lie, Aaditya Mattoo, Ezekiel J. Emanuel,and Gopal Sreenivasan
            *Health Aff May 2004 23:137-145; doi:10.1377/hlthaff.23.3.137

            The General Agreement On Trade In Services: Implications For Health Policymakers
            […]
            “Critics have charged that the GATS requires privatization of health services, prevents governments from regulating players in the health sector, and generally hinders countries’ ability to determine the shape of their domestic heath care systems democratically.1 This recent severe criticism of the GATS has raised the prospect of adverse consequences of WTO agreements for developed countries and has sparked concerns that the GATS could diminish Americans’ freedom to change the shape of their health care system.

            In this paper we show that there is little clear evidence of such adverse consequences, given the conditions presently existing under the GATS. However, the U.S. role in further specifying the agreement, as well as the additional commitments the United States makes, will determine the GATS’ ultimate impact on the U.S. health care system. It is therefore important for U.S. health policymakers to be aware of, and to influence, any future agreements that the United States makes as part of its trade negotiations. One important aim of this paper is to provide background information on the GATS that will enable health policymakers to play a constructive role in future trade negotiations.”
            […]

            http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/23/3/137.full

            *Health Affairs is the leading journal of health policy thought and research. The peer-reviewed journal was founded in 1981 under the aegis of Project HOPE, a nonprofit international health education organization. Health Affairsexplores health policy issues of current concern in domestic and international spheres. Its mission is to serve as a high-level, nonpartisan forum to promote analysis and discussion on improving health and health care, and to address such issues as cost, quality, and access.

  6. […] Fully Raw Cannibals and My Obamacare Nightmare riverdaughter. You need to read this. […]

  7. Great analysis… now, who is going to run for President on a ticket to replace Obamacare with “military medicine”? And who in the MSM will champion such a candidate?

    • They wont be able to, we’re being led into a one way street to privatization with no exit possible. Read the Skala WTO paper linked above, keeping in mind that what he calls a “worst case scenario” is clearly coming true.

      The 27 year old Skala died shortly after his paper was published. August 8, 2009

      I think time proves he was right. Hs worst case scenario – his suspicions about the Obama Administration’s intent – that they were trying to shut the door on single payer by means of the WTO services agreement, seem to have been verified by everything that has happened since-

      Look at virtually the first act of the administration: hiring a controversial British multinational to administer the rollout.

      That is an act which quite possibly could give the WTO ultimate authority over US health care policy barring single payer forever.

      The Skala paper, is worth reading, all 25 pages of it..

      Here is another worthwhile read, even though its about Canada- its honest and it covers a subject that seems to be verboten here, the truth about the FTAs. (which we have also signed) It gives recommendations which we should look at closely, we need to do that too.

      http://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/National_Office_Pubs/putting_health_first.pdf

      (There are more than a dozen relevant, valuable publications on FTAs conflicts of interests with health care and the public interests on the policyalternatives.ca site. Search on site:policyalternatives.ca filetype:pdf (for example, GATS or NAFTA, or WTO, etc))

      Here is a video of him done a few months earlier about the difference between single payer and the insurance industry created fake “public option”.

      As far as I know Skala was not sick.

      • Then one answer would be to try preventing TTP and TTIP from getting fast-tracked, so as to lower the chance of their getting passed.
        If that were achieved a movement could move onto getting NAFTA,WTO membership, and MFN for China repealed. If any older GATT agreements also need to be abrogated and withdrawn from, work on that next.
        The mindset required for such a path will require Clinton partisans to admit that NAFTA/WTO/MFN for China were not good things just because Clinton supported them. One can suppose that Clinton “meant well” and was merely “mistaken” about Free Trade. But one will have to accept that only economic traitors support Free Trade and economic patriots support protectionism and the utter withdrawal of America from any and every Free Trade Treason agreement.

        • You’re completely ignoring the fact that this stuff they have been doing is such a huge abuse of trust that in my opion its worse than anything else I can think of in recent history. Maybe the Yalta conference disaster (division of and betrayal of Eastern Europe to Stalin on a cocktail napkin) is the only thing I can think of right now which is comparable. Most of the stuff in there has nothing or almost nothing to do with free trade, the free trade is just a pretext. Look at the agenda, stealing our future, stealing democracy, trapping us in bad healthcare, taking maybe a quarter million dollars more per American for inferior health care..quietly hiring multinational Serco Group an act that has WTO/GATS implications as their FIRST ACT.. so that bad healthcare can be quietly, silently carved in stone such that even if we threw all the current politicians out we’d still be stuck with the consequences of their back room deals, which they conducted knowing that the public would not stand for it. Otherwise they would have no need to hide them. This is serious stuff, something like 80-100,000 Americans die each year IN HOSPITALS who would not die if the US had healthcare on a par with the best performing nations. Another probably larger number dont even get counted because they cannot afford to go to the doctor. Obama was supposed to change that but he didn’t. If we just let this continue, maybe another million Americans will die from crap healthcare or no healthcare before we can fix it. Google “mortality amenable to health care”. We pay far more than they top performing countries do, we are not significantly sicker as a whole, and BESIDES HEALTHCARE our costs of living are not higher than theirs, in fact for many Americans they are lower, but we’re getting crap healthcare that keeps getting worse and worse. They are manufacturing a fake crisis that simply needs single payer to end but that woint work without a push to get money out of plitics too. This is a life or death situation for America’s future.. There is no possible answer for that secrecy, no excuses are possible. They failed us. This is both parties lying shamelessly and concealing knowingly the same things for the last 20 + years, it has little or nothing to do with trade at this point, except that the drug companies want higher profits and they are willing to screw their own country in order to get them, we are collateral damage- These corporations have decided they are against our country’s best interests, they should not -They call themselves Americans!?

          > But one will have to accept that only economic traitors support Free Trade and economic patriots support protectionism and the utter withdrawal of America from any and every Free Trade Treason agreement.

          • Granted, these agreements contain many “non-trade related” items, as you describe. So let me restate that free trade is in itself treasonous, as are the other plots and plans under free trade cover.

            The fact remains that slowing TTP and TTIP enough to get time to kill them is very important. Then circling back and killing NAFTA/WTO/MFN for China is also very important, even if difficult. Perhaps earlier GATT rounds should also be attacked and withdrawn from.

    • No one. As it is they are looking to decimate the military medical system as well. They are already proposing that the retired and military family members pay more for Tricare and Tricare Prime and that instead of a system where military personnel and their family members have full benefits only the military member be given coverage.

      • Of course they are doing that- Caring for active duty soliders can and of course is considered to be part of a governments function..

        But not veterans, not retired soldiers, not their families, not any other group.. If you are trying to espouse the purest version of your own extremist free trade ideology you dont break your own rules.

        This is a very slippery slope- We should recognize the seeds of a real disaster of epic proportions which could occur if we remain silent- Apart from volcanoes, tsunamis, etc. many, many of the worst disasters in history were caused by blind adherence to an ideological position despite all common sense logic. I made a long list of examples but they were too horrible so I removed them. But- think about that.

        Read the following:

        Of course they are limiting the scope of “public” services, thats their plan.

        They are getting rid of CHIP too, of course. The exceptions from GATS’s mandate to privatize are VERY NARROW!

        The desire to not allow any mistaken assumption that healthcare is a service provided as an exercise in governmental authority seems to me to perhaps also be the REAL reason why a majority of states (29= 58%) which contained a majority of those who would otherwise have been eligible (60%) did not expand Medicaid. Thats the most plausible reason to me.

        Suppose, and I think this is not unlikely,that the gridlock is just an act, and both “parties” are cooperating to make sure we get a horrible deal. No democracy could be allowed, it might result in actual change. Too risky. Thats why they arrested single payer advcates who tried to speak in one of the scripted “debate” meetings. They are spending a LOT of money to squelch out any voices that carry any kind of real information. “Drownvoting” Creating static, “poisoning the well” to make any valuable conversation on the larger blogs into an unfollowable mess of meaningless ELIZA-like chatter..

        The following paper is about one of the only exceptions from GATS’s mandate to privatize- “Services provided as an exercise of governmental authority.” Please forgive me for pasting it, I know its long, but people need to read this-

        The following is from:

        http://www.iatp.org/files/GATS_and_Public_Service_Systems.htm

        Please read the whole thing! Also, consider the fact that assumptions made in the following paper, that the Canadian government would fight for Canada’s peoples rights clearly dont apply in the USa. They want to simply put us in this position so the WTO can be the heavy. They wont fight for our rights at all, how could they, as they wrote these FTAs, and use them all teh time to get more favorable terms from other countries- Its a very scary, and dangerous situation when your own government does not represent peoples interests conscientiously-

        scary thing is that these rulings once laid down HAVE TO BE DISPUTED BY YOUR OWN GOVERNMENT- But, WHAT IF YOUR OWN GOVERNMENT IS COVERTLY ANTI-AFFORABLE HEALTHCARE- Thats the problem We absolutely cannot trust them, we cannot trust any future administration, the only way out of this trap is to insist that these FTAs be withdrawn from before this happens- Otherwise, their little script will play out, other countries helping teh US steal our healthcare and then the US whille help them steal their people’s.

        It just gets worse and worse.. Everybody should read up on what happened with Antigua and online gambling, a case which the US lost, it shows how the “opening” of a market is inviisible- And actually the US DID schedule health insurance as included under GATS, thats what Skala’s paper says

        ____cut here_______

        “The illustrative examples of excluded services provided by the WTO 40 in its GATS Training Package are quite limited. The package states that “services supplied in the exercise of governmental authority” include

        “the activities of central banks and other monetary authorities, statutory social security and public retirement plans, and public entities using government financial resources. (emphasis added)”41

        While even these examples are of doubtful relevance,42 the list is noteworthy for its limited scope.43 It does not include health care and education, for example, and many other key services that are of primary interest to the public and which many citizens, organizations and governments apparently now believe to be excluded from the agreement.”

        ………

        More:

        The Council for Trade in Services indicates the “need” for the exclusion to be interpreted narrowly

        The record of discussions in the WTO Council for Trade in Services supports the view that a narrow interpretation is almost certain. When the council considered the exclusion in the context of sensitive health and social services sectors, negotiators asserted that even here the exclusion “needed to be interpreted narrowly”:

        “Members drew attention to the variety of policy objectives governing the provision of health and social services, including basic welfare and equity considerations. Such considerations had led to a very substantial degree of government involvement, both as a direct provider of such services and as a regulator. However, this did not mean that the whole sector was outside the remit of the GATS; the exceptions provided in Article I:3 of the Agreement needed to be interpreted narrowly” (emphasis added).53

        Many WTO references raise other specific concerns

        A close examination of other WTO documents and records reinforces concerns about the limited application of the “governmental authority” exclusion. Such an examination also raises new concerns that the potential impacts of GATS coverage may be far more significant than is commonly understood.

        MFN applies to the health sector

        The Director of the WTO Services Division has stated that while “a government which makes � no [specific] commitments in the health sector, for example, is free to prohibit foreign supply of health services altogether or to subject them to any conditions it chooses �[I]n the absence of commitments � the most-favoured-nation obligation” would still apply.54 Put more directly, the director confirms here that the GATS most-favoured-nation obligation already applies to the health sector — even where individual members have not made any specific commitments in the sector.

        The “governmental authority” exclusion may apply in the health sector only in exceptional circumstances, for example, where services are provided “directly through the government, free of charge”.

        The Secretariat’s background paper on health and social services 55 indicates that the “institutional arrangements governing the provision of health, medical and social services may vary widely, from complete government ownership and control to full market orientation.” It notes that:

        “there is the possibility of services being provided “in the exercise of governmental authority”, meaning, according to Article I:3.(c) of the GATS, that they are supplied neither on a commercial basis nor in competition. A case in point of such activities – not covered by the GATS – is the provision of medical and hospital treatment directly through the government, free of charge.”

        After describing contrasting systems that “allow for full private participation without access controls”, the paper acknowledges that “[s]uch prototypical arrangements are likely to be the exception rather than the rule.” The application of the GATS to the vast range of institutional arrangements for providing public health services that falls between these contrasting types is left unaddressed.

        The paper then raises the “governmental authority” exclusion as an issue for discussion56:

        “How do Members interpret the criteria contained in Article I:3 (services supplied neither on a commercial basis nor in competition): Would the levying of a charge or the existence of private hospitals preclude cover?”

        “Governmental authority” exclusion may not apply to “the hospital sector in many countries”

        The WTO Secretariat’s background paper on health and social services strongly reinforces concerns about the limited nature of the “governmental authority” exclusion, arguing that its application in the hospital sector “seems unrealistic”57:

        “The hospital sector in many countries, however, is made up of government- and privately-owned entities which both operate on a commercial basis, charging the patient or his insurance for the treatment provided. Supplementary subsidies may be granted for social, regional and similar policy purposes. It seems unrealistic in such cases to argue for continued application of Article 1:3 and/or maintain that no competitive relationship exists between the two groups of suppliers or services.”

        Basic education “may be” excluded

        The WTO Secretariat’s background paper on education services 58 does not discuss the application of the “government authority” exclusion in the education sector. It merely indicates that:

        “Basic education provided by the government may be considered to fall within the domain of, in the terminology of the GATS, services supplied in the exercise of governmental authority (supplied neither on a commercial basis nor in competition).” (emphasis added)

        This vague statement is noteworthy in that it does not deny the possibility that basic education may not, in fact, fall within the “governmental authority” exclusion. The paper notes that its primary focus is not on those segments of the education sector that are excluded but “where a small, but possibly growing, number of countries allows for effective private participation.”

        The GATS national treatment obligation may apply to subsidies given to public entities

        In the case of the hospital sector noted above, the WTO background paper indicates that

        “In scheduled sectors, this suggests that subsidies and any similar economic benefits conferred on one group would be subject to the national treatment obligation under Article XVII [National Treatment].”59

        The WTO Services Director also considers this issue in correspondence. In discussing concerns about private service providers seeking a share of public subsidies currently provided only to public services, the director asserts that a public service would not be excluded if the government were “simply to own a service provider operating in competition with the private sector.”60 This statement obliquely confirms that public services that operate “in competition with one or more service suppliers” are covered by the agreement. The clear implication is that in such circumstances and where relevant specific commitments have been made, private for-profit service providers would have grounds under GATS to seek a share of subsidies that otherwise would be provided only to public, or private non-profit, service suppliers.

        GATS applies to government measures respecting public monopolies “which operate commercially”

        The director of the WTO Services Division has indicated that GATS obligations apply to government actions respecting public “monopolies which operate commercially.” In his 1999 letter to an international NGO,61 he states:

        “Not all monopolies, of course, are ‘public monopolies’ in the sense that they provide services supplied in the exercise of governmental authority, which I take to be the sense of your question. There are monopolies which operate commercially and have nothing to do with government, even if they have been granted monopoly rights by the government, and in dealing with these the government is bound by the normal GATS obligations, notably the Most Favoured Nation principle�”

        This statement points out that some public monopoly services are subject to GATS constraints. In particular, it indicates that GATS obligations apply to government actions respecting public “monopolies which operate commercially”. Even where these monopolies have been established and maintained to achieve efficiency, equitable distribution of services, public accountability or for other legitimate public purposes, if the monopoly services are deemed to be “commercial”, they would be subject to GATS obligations.62

        Public services would only become “an issue” in the event of a GATS challenge

        In his 1999 letter, the WTO Services Director states that “there is no need for a government to take any specific action to ‘ring-fence’ the public component.” As he put it:

        “The status of the public component could only ever become an issue if some measure taken by the government concerned were to be questioned by another WTO Member.”

        In a similar vein, the recent WTO pamphlet, entitled “GATS — Fact and Fiction”, notes that while Member Governments “attach great importance” to the governmental authority exclusion, “there has been no need for interpretation of this phrase” � because “no question has been raised by any Member” about the exclusion. As the WTO puts it63:

        “The issue could only arise if a specific measure which had been challenged in dispute settlement were to be defended on the ground that it applied only to services supplied in the exercise of governmental authority and was therefore outside the scope of the GATS.”

        The possibility that the “public component” and public service regulation might be “questioned by another WTO Member” and defended on the basis of this exclusion is, of course, precisely the crux of the question. These answers obliquely confirm that government measures relating to public service systems are indeed exposed to the threat of international disputes under the GATS.

        5. Conclusion

        The GATS brings public service systems — and their regulation — within WTO authority.
        The GATS brings many aspects of public service systems, and governments’ regulation of these systems, within the sphere of WTO authority. Indeed, most government measures “affecting” services are subject to GATS rules, even, in some cases, if these measures are non-discriminatory and have little or no effect on international trade.

        The narrowness of the “governmental authority” exclusion is not widely recognised.
        Despite the significance of GATS coverage, there are indications that some member governments may not fully appreciate the limited scope of the “governmental authority” exclusion. Many governments may not recognize that certain aspects of public services and their regulation are already subject to those GATS obligations that apply ‘across-the-board’, among them most-favoured-nation treatment and transparency. Some members may also not be aware that, where they have made specific commitments, certain aspects of their public service systems and of their regulatory ability in these areas may be subject to more demanding GATS restrictions, including national treatment and market access.

        Assessments of GATS coverage on public service systems are warranted
        There is no evidence available to the public that WTO members have assessed the significance of the GATS on their public service systems, or on the regulatory authority of governments, at any level of jurisdiction. In light of the growing recognition of the narrowness of the “governmental authority” exclusion, some governments may consider such detailed assessments clearly warranted and long overdue. These assessments may be considered especially important as some existing GATS obligations extend beyond international trade, reaching to the heart of governments’ domestic regulatory authority.64

        Assessing the practical implications of existing GATS commitments pertaining to public service systems has become time-sensitive, since members are currently engaged in negotiations to broaden and deepen the agreement. Members that fail to perform such assessments run a significant risk of covering services unintentionally in this and future rounds of negotiations. They may also introduce uncertainty into any new specific commitments they make — The Council for Trade in Services indicates the “need” for the exclusion to be interpreted narrowly

        The record of discussions in the WTO Council for Trade in Services supports the view that a narrow interpretation is almost certain. When the council considered the exclusion in the context of sensitive health and social services sectors, negotiators asserted that even here the exclusion “needed to be interpreted narrowly”:

        “Members drew attention to the variety of policy objectives governing the provision of health and social services, including basic welfare and equity considerations. Such considerations had led to a very substantial degree of government involvement, both as a direct provider of such services and as a regulator. However, this did not mean that the whole sector was outside the remit of the GATS; the exceptions provided in Article I:3 of the Agreement needed to be interpreted narrowly” (emphasis added).53

        Many WTO references raise other specific concerns

        A close examination of other WTO documents and records reinforces concerns about the limited application of the “governmental authority” exclusion. Such an examination also raises new concerns that the potential impacts of GATS coverage may be far more significant than is commonly understood.

        MFN applies to the health sector

        The Director of the WTO Services Division has stated that while “a government which makes � no [specific] commitments in the health sector, for example, is free to prohibit foreign supply of health services altogether or to subject them to any conditions it chooses �[I]n the absence of commitments � the most-favoured-nation obligation” would still apply.54 Put more directly, the director confirms here that the GATS most-favoured-nation obligation already applies to the health sector — even where individual members have not made any specific commitments in the sector.

        The “governmental authority” exclusion may apply in the health sector only in exceptional circumstances, for example, where services are provided “directly through the government, free of charge”.

        The Secretariat’s background paper on health and social services 55 indicates that the “institutional arrangements governing the provision of health, medical and social services may vary widely, from complete government ownership and control to full market orientation.” It notes that:

        “there is the possibility of services being provided “in the exercise of governmental authority”, meaning, according to Article I:3.(c) of the GATS, that they are supplied neither on a commercial basis nor in competition. A case in point of such activities – not covered by the GATS – is the provision of medical and hospital treatment directly through the government, free of charge.”

        After describing contrasting systems that “allow for full private participation without access controls”, the paper acknowledges that “[s]uch prototypical arrangements are likely to be the exception rather than the rule.” The application of the GATS to the vast range of institutional arrangements for providing public health services that falls between these contrasting types is left unaddressed.

        The paper then raises the “governmental authority” exclusion as an issue for discussion56:

        “How do Members interpret the criteria contained in Article I:3 (services supplied neither on a commercial basis nor in competition): Would the levying of a charge or the existence of private hospitals preclude cover?”

        “Governmental authority” exclusion may not apply to “the hospital sector in many countries”

        The WTO Secretariat’s background paper on health and social services strongly reinforces concerns about the limited nature of the “governmental authority” exclusion, arguing that its application in the hospital sector “seems unrealistic”57:

        “The hospital sector in many countries, however, is made up of government- and privately-owned entities which both operate on a commercial basis, charging the patient or his insurance for the treatment provided. Supplementary subsidies may be granted for social, regional and similar policy purposes. It seems unrealistic in such cases to argue for continued application of Article 1:3 and/or maintain that no competitive relationship exists between the two groups of suppliers or services.”

        Basic education “may be” excluded

        The WTO Secretariat’s background paper on education services 58 does not discuss the application of the “government authority” exclusion in the education sector. It merely indicates that:

        “Basic education provided by the government may be considered to fall within the domain of, in the terminology of the GATS, services supplied in the exercise of governmental authority (supplied neither on a commercial basis nor in competition).” (emphasis added)

        This vague statement is noteworthy in that it does not deny the possibility that basic education may not, in fact, fall within the “governmental authority” exclusion. The paper notes that its primary focus is not on those segments of the education sector that are excluded but “where a small, but possibly growing, number of countries allows for effective private participation.”

        The GATS national treatment obligation may apply to subsidies given to public entities

        In the case of the hospital sector noted above, the WTO background paper indicates that

        “In scheduled sectors, this suggests that subsidies and any similar economic benefits conferred on one group would be subject to the national treatment obligation under Article XVII [National Treatment].”59

        The WTO Services Director also considers this issue in correspondence. In discussing concerns about private service providers seeking a share of public subsidies currently provided only to public services, the director asserts that a public service would not be excluded if the government were “simply to own a service provider operating in competition with the private sector.”60 This statement obliquely confirms that public services that operate “in competition with one or more service suppliers” are covered by the agreement. The clear implication is that in such circumstances and where relevant specific commitments have been made, private for-profit service providers would have grounds under GATS to seek a share of subsidies that otherwise would be provided only to public, or private non-profit, service suppliers.
        The Council for Trade in Services indicates the “need” for the exclusion to be interpreted narrowly

        The record of discussions in the WTO Council for Trade in Services supports the view that a narrow interpretation is almost certain. When the council considered the exclusion in the context of sensitive health and social services sectors, negotiators asserted that even here the exclusion “needed to be interpreted narrowly”:

        “Members drew attention to the variety of policy objectives governing the provision of health and social services, including basic welfare and equity considerations. Such considerations had led to a very substantial degree of government involvement, both as a direct provider of such services and as a regulator. However, this did not mean that the whole sector was outside the remit of the GATS; the exceptions provided in Article I:3 of the Agreement needed to be interpreted narrowly” (emphasis added).53

        Many WTO references raise other specific concerns

        A close examination of other WTO documents and records reinforces concerns about the limited application of the “governmental authority” exclusion. Such an examination also raises new concerns that the potential impacts of GATS coverage may be far more significant than is commonly understood.

        MFN applies to the health sector

        The Director of the WTO Services Division has stated that while “a government which makes � no [specific] commitments in the health sector, for example, is free to prohibit foreign supply of health services altogether or to subject them to any conditions it chooses �[I]n the absence of commitments � the most-favoured-nation obligation” would still apply.54 Put more directly, the director confirms here that the GATS most-favoured-nation obligation already applies to the health sector — even where individual members have not made any specific commitments in the sector.

        The “governmental authority” exclusion may apply in the health sector only in exceptional circumstances, for example, where services are provided “directly through the government, free of charge”.

        The Secretariat’s background paper on health and social services 55 indicates that the “institutional arrangements governing the provision of health, medical and social services may vary widely, from complete government ownership and control to full market orientation.” It notes that:

        “there is the possibility of services being provided “in the exercise of governmental authority”, meaning, according to Article I:3.(c) of the GATS, that they are supplied neither on a commercial basis nor in competition. A case in point of such activities – not covered by the GATS – is the provision of medical and hospital treatment directly through the government, free of charge.”

        After describing contrasting systems that “allow for full private participation without access controls”, the paper acknowledges that “[s]uch prototypical arrangements are likely to be the exception rather than the rule.” The application of the GATS to the vast range of institutional arrangements for providing public health services that falls between these contrasting types is left unaddressed.

        The paper then raises the “governmental authority” exclusion as an issue for discussion56:

        “How do Members interpret the criteria contained in Article I:3 (services supplied neither on a commercial basis nor in competition): Would the levying of a charge or the existence of private hospitals preclude cover?”

        “Governmental authority” exclusion may not apply to “the hospital sector in many countries”

        The WTO Secretariat’s background paper on health and social services strongly reinforces concerns about the limited nature of the “governmental authority” exclusion, arguing that its application in the hospital sector “seems unrealistic”57:

        “The hospital sector in many countries, however, is made up of government- and privately-owned entities which both operate on a commercial basis, charging the patient or his insurance for the treatment provided. Supplementary subsidies may be granted for social, regional and similar policy purposes. It seems unrealistic in such cases to argue for continued application of Article 1:3 and/or maintain that no competitive relationship exists between the two groups of suppliers or services.”

        Basic education “may be” excluded

        The WTO Secretariat’s background paper on education services 58 does not discuss the application of the “government authority” exclusion in the education sector. It merely indicates that:

        “Basic education provided by the government may be considered to fall within the domain of, in the terminology of the GATS, services supplied in the exercise of governmental authority (supplied neither on a commercial basis nor in competition).” (emphasis added)

        This vague statement is noteworthy in that it does not deny the possibility that basic education may not, in fact, fall within the “governmental authority” exclusion. The paper notes that its primary focus is not on those segments of the education sector that are excluded but “where a small, but possibly growing, number of countries allows for effective private participation.”

        The GATS national treatment obligation may apply to subsidies given to public entities

        In the case of the hospital sector noted above, the WTO background paper indicates that

        “In scheduled sectors, this suggests that subsidies and any similar economic benefits conferred on one group would be subject to the national treatment obligation under Article XVII [National Treatment].”59

        The WTO Services Director also considers this issue in correspondence. In discussing concerns about private service providers seeking a share of public subsidies currently provided only to public services, the director asserts that a public service would not be excluded if the government were “simply to own a service provider operating in competition with the private sector.”60 This statement obliquely confirms that public services that operate “in competition with one or more service suppliers” are covered by the agreement. The clear implication is that in such circumstances and where relevant specific commitments have been made, private for-profit service providers would have grounds under GATS to seek a share of subsidies that otherwise would be provided only to public, or private non-profit, service suppliers.

        GATS applies to government measures respecting public monopolies “which operate commercially”

        The director of the WTO Services Division has indicated that GATS obligations apply to government actions respecting public “monopolies which operate commercially.” In his 1999 letter to an international NGO,61 he states:

        “Not all monopolies, of course, are ‘public monopolies’ in the sense that they provide services supplied in the exercise of governmental authority, which I take to be the sense of your question. There are monopolies which operate commercially and have nothing to do with government, even if they have been granted monopoly rights by the government, and in dealing with these the government is bound by the normal GATS obligations, notably the Most Favoured Nation principle�”

        This statement points out that some public monopoly services are subject to GATS constraints. In particular, it indicates that GATS obligations apply to government actions respecting public “monopolies which operate commercially”. Even where these monopolies have been established and maintained to achieve efficiency, equitable distribution of services, public accountability or for other legitimate public purposes, if the monopoly services are deemed to be “commercial”, they would be subject to GATS obligations.62

        Public services would only become “an issue” in the event of a GATS challenge

        In his 1999 letter, the WTO Services Director states that “there is no need for a government to take any specific action to ‘ring-fence’ the public component.” As he put it:

        “The status of the public component could only ever become an issue if some measure taken by the government concerned were to be questioned by another WTO Member.”

        In a similar vein, the recent WTO pamphlet, entitled “GATS — Fact and Fiction”, notes that while Member Governments “attach great importance” to the governmental authority exclusion, “there has been no need for interpretation of this phrase” � because “no question has been raised by any Member” about the exclusion. As the WTO puts it63:

        “The issue could only arise if a specific measure which had been challenged in dispute settlement were to be defended on the ground that it applied only to services supplied in the exercise of governmental authority and was therefore outside the scope of the GATS.”

        The possibility that the “public component” and public service regulation might be “questioned by another WTO Member” and defended on the basis of this exclusion is, of course, precisely the crux of the question. These answers obliquely confirm that government measures relating to public service systems are indeed exposed to the threat of international disputes under the GATS.

        5. Conclusion

        The GATS brings public service systems — and their regulation — within WTO authority.
        The GATS brings many aspects of public service systems, and governments’ regulation of these systems, within the sphere of WTO authority. Indeed, most government measures “affecting” services are subject to GATS rules, even, in some cases, if these measures are non-discriminatory and have little or no effect on international trade.

        The narrowness of the “governmental authority” exclusion is not widely recognised.
        Despite the significance of GATS coverage, there are indications that some member governments may not fully appreciate the limited scope of the “governmental authority” exclusion. Many governments may not recognize that certain aspects of public services and their regulation are already subject to those GATS obligations that apply ‘across-the-board’, among them most-favoured-nation treatment and transparency. Some members may also not be aware that, where they have made specific commitments, certain aspects of their public service systems and of their regulatory ability in these areas may be subject to more demanding GATS restrictions, including national treatment and market access.

        Assessments of GATS coverage on public service systems are warranted
        There is no evidence available to the public that WTO members have assessed the significance of the GATS on their public service systems, or on the regulatory authority of governments, at any level of jurisdiction. In light of the growing recognition of the narrowness of the “governmental authority” exclusion, some governments may consider such detailed assessments clearly warranted and long overdue. These assessments may be considered especially important as some existing GATS obligations extend beyond international trade, reaching to the heart of governments’ domestic regulatory authority.64

        Assessing the practical implications of existing GATS commitments pertaining to public service systems has become time-sensitive, since members are currently engaged in negotiations to broaden and deepen the agreement. Members that fail to perform such assessments run a significant risk of covering services unintentionally in this and future rounds of negotiations. They may also introduce uncertainty into any new specific commitments they make — uncertainty that is likely to be clarified ultimately not by the member governments themselves but through dispute settlement. Moreover, in the absence of clear guidance to the contrary from member governments, it is very likely that dispute settlement panels will interpret the “governmental authority” exclusion narrowly. This could have the effect of diminishing governments’ regulatory capability and undermining their existing public service systems.

        Revisiting the “governmental authority” exclusion in current negotiations — to make it effective and permanent — is likely to be considered an urgent priority.
        WTO members may wish, as an urgent priority, to revisit the “governmental authority” exclusion during ongoing GATS re-negotiations to clarify it or, if necessary, renegotiate the text to ensure that public service systems are fully, effectively and permanently excluded from the GATS.

        GATS applies to government measures respecting public monopolies “which operate commercially”

        The director of the WTO Services Division has indicated that GATS obligations apply to government actions respecting public “monopolies which operate commercially.” In his 1999 letter to an international NGO,61 he states:

        “Not all monopolies, of course, are ‘public monopolies’ in the sense that they provide services supplied in the exercise of governmental authority, which I take to be the sense of your question. There are monopolies which operate commercially and have nothing to do with government, even if they have been granted monopoly rights by the government, and in dealing with these the government is bound by the normal GATS obligations, notably the Most Favoured Nation principle�”

        This statement points out that some public monopoly services are subject to GATS constraints. In particular, it indicates that GATS obligations apply to government actions respecting public “monopolies which operate commercially”. Even where these monopolies have been established and maintained to achieve efficiency, equitable distribution of services, public accountability or for other legitimate public purposes, if the monopoly services are deemed to be “commercial”, they would be subject to GATS obligations.62

        Public services would only become “an issue” in the event of a GATS challenge

        In his 1999 letter, the WTO Services Director states that “there is no need for a government to take any specific action to ‘ring-fence’ the public component.” As he put it:

        “The status of the public component could only ever become an issue if some measure taken by the government concerned were to be questioned by another WTO Member.”

        In a similar vein, the recent WTO pamphlet, entitled “GATS — Fact and Fiction”, notes that while Member Governments “attach great importance” to the governmental authority exclusion, “there has been no need for interpretation of this phrase” � because “no question has been raised by any Member” about the exclusion. As the WTO puts it63:

        “The issue could only arise if a specific measure which had been challenged in dispute settlement were to be defended on the ground that it applied only to services supplied in the exercise of governmental authority and was therefore outside the scope of the GATS.”

        The possibility that the “public component” and public service regulation might be “questioned by another WTO Member” and defended on the basis of this exclusion is, of course, precisely the crux of the question. These answers obliquely confirm that government measures relating to public service systems are indeed exposed to the threat of international disputes under the GATS.

        ……..

        The rest would not paste but its part of what i wanted to include and its good please read the original paper, download it to disk, it was offline for a whyile and it may go offline again.

        http://www.iatp.org/files/GATS_and_Public_Service_Systems.htm

        >cwaltz, on April 13, 2014 at 1:15 am said:

        >No one. As it is they are looking to decimate the military medical system as well. They are already proposing that the retired and military family members pay more for Tricare and Tricare Prime and that instead of a system where military personnel and their family members have full benefits only the military member be given coverage.

        The exemptions I think are only for

  8. Because I didn’t say it above and should have: RD, I’m really sorry that you’ve had two or three such shitty years.
    Sending best wishes.

  9. It is quite disturbing to learn that those FORCED into Medicaid are subject to having ALL of their assets seized by government thugs. After reading this I decided not to vote for Democrats. I refuse to vote for soulless GOP, but I won’t vote for Democrats:

    Medicaid Estate Recovery + ACA: Unintended Consequences? http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/10/17/1248425/-Medicaid-Estate-Recovery-ACA-Unintended-Consequences

  10. I don’t know if people are aware of this, but one big root cause of how bad Obamacare is is that the US has been signing these horrible free trade agreements for more than 20 years which make anything better, illegal under the trade agreements, intentionally. They knew that we really neededsingle payer, you see, and single payer is too efficient, there is no opportunity for huge profits and as Obama said health insurance a huge slice of the economy, around 0.1% of all workers.

    At least that is my cut on it. So to get better healthcare we need to dump all the trade agreements first, and we may have to pay huge compensation now to corporations who they gave legal entitlements to markets, which may be some very huge amount, larger than the GNP, because its based on the size of the potential market. This “investor-state” compensation is new.

    At least that is what I took away from this paper: The potential impact of the World Trade Organization’s general agreement on trade in services on health system reform and regulation in the United States
    http://www.pnhp.org/sites/default/files/Nick%20Skala%20GAT%20and%20Health%20Reform.pdf

    (by 27 year old Northwestern University law student, and single payer activist Nick Skala, who suddenly died on August 8, 2009)
    and several other papers which I would be glad to share the URLs of below.

    http://www.law.harvard.edu/programs/lwp/nafta.pdf

    http://www.iatp.org/files/GATS_and_Public_Service_Systems.htm

    http://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/National_Office_Pubs/putting_health_first.pdf (and tons of other stuff on the policyalternatives.ca web site, do a “site:policyalternatives.ca filetype:pdf” on Google, maybe start with the names of free trade agreements like GATS, NAFTA, etc.)

    The #1 priority is keeping the price of healthcare services and drugs from collapsing because of market failure and preventing the creation of a safety net in the US, and dismantling it in Europe in preparation for big changes coming as we head towards this: http://spectrum.ieee.org/singularity The era where “nobody has to work”. Most wealth will be inherited or from investments. Machines will do almost everything. Its coming faster than everybody thinks. see http://www.kurzweilai.net/the-law-of-accelerating-returns

  11. “Unfortunately, homophobia is not the last truly acceptable bigotry. It is far more likely that fully raw cannibals will achieve acceptance and equality before women do.”

    Hah. And yeah. Fully raw male cannibals, of course.

    The really funny thing is that there’s no need to worry about all the contempt for women because there is none. That problem was totally solved decades ago. All evidence to the contrary is a minor glitch, out of context, nitpicking, doesn’t exist, doesn’t matter, her fault. Fully raw cannibals, on the other hand, are not treated respectfully in the media.

  12. RD I hope things get better for you.

  13. I got laid off late last year. When I signed up for ACA, as of January 1, my son (then 18, 19 this month) was automatically put on Medicaid, and because I had unemployment benefits, I was eligible for the subsidy. So I paid $163/month and didn’t get so much as a dime paid on prescriptions. But at least I was complying with the law.

    Cue to March, and I got a cancellation notice, and had to get a new policy as of April 1. I decided to go ahead and get my son’s new coverage as well because he’ll be 19 this month. I had made a withdrawal from my IRA to cover some of the bills that unemployment wasn’t enough to cover the week before I got the cancellation notice. I became ineligible for a subsidy. Now I’m paying $674/month for health insurance, and I’m still not sure it will cover a dime of my prescriptions.

    And when unemployment ends in June (only 26 weeks now) I’ll be completely screwed.

    Over 50 and the jobs just aren’t out there.

    • Obamacare is a RFOTA (or RFOA) “Reasonable Factor Other Than Age” – i.e. legal permission to age discriminate.

      Also, it keeps low wages down. Also, it gets young people off the street. THEY are the ones the government worries would demonstrate about unemployment. The older ones never do.

      Where is it all going? Singularity issue in IEEE Spectrum

    • Tmarie, I’m sorry. Obama seems determined to pound the last few nails into the coffin of the middle class, or as RD would say “the precariat.”

  14. Why didn’t everybody see this coming? I was telling people in 2008 that all of this was going to happen and it did. And its going to get worse, much worse.

    There is kind of a smoking gun in the fact that the “free trade” “agreements” had arguably ALREADY banned all the cost cutting measures that Obama claimed to be “taking off the table” at the beginning of his 2008 term. That shows that HE was a cover up. That Obama’s whole two terms have been a cover up. .

    Use that, use it now -bloggers!

  15. RD,

    THANK YOU! My kid couldn’t get a plan by herself lest it was medicaid, the other plan was $350.00 (lowest was 240 w/big deductible), so since she is in college she is with me on my plan. Next year my profit should be better which will lead to $11,160.00 (year) for the two of us. OUCH! The Medicaid growing indebtedness is another way to make people poorer and place them into financial disaster.

    The one thing that experts (Financial gurus, Dems and especially GOP) is that ACA caused the greatest rise in premiums in decades. California is still pushing for Universal Care for all…maybe it will come to pass one day.

    Jobs are now offers more and more for 20 to 30 hours and with no benefits. So, some people are now working sixty hours and having to pay for health care or the fine and getting poorer and tired. Those working 30 hours often are called in for 40+ through some loop hole that I don’t understand and then placed back to 30 hours.

  16. It is far more likely that fully raw cannibals will achieve acceptance and equality before women do

    Of course. They already have a non cooking show. It’s on between Cutthroat Kitchen, Kitchen Casino and Cupcake Wars …

  17. I recommend everyone revisit the excellent thread at Correntewire. These are a few of the thought the inimitable Lambert has contributed there:

    Three questions about the 2008 campaign | Corrente
    “[Leaving this sticky to remind myself that I still have things to say. And it’s interesting to imagine what future historians, if any, will think of the 2008 Democratic campaign. We’d better get our thoughts and memories on the record! I’d also note, for researchers like Cannon, that Corrente’s archives are incomparable, and our faceted/filterable search function is excellent. It’s also sad to me that many comrades in arms from that time have dispersed. It’s natural, of course. –lambert]

    2008 was indeed strange; for many of the commenters, me included, it marked a turning point on engagement with the Democratic Party and with electoral politics generally.”

    “It matters for several reasons

    1) It’s an important and interesting piece of history (and it would be nice if it weren’t written by the winners;

    2) Individuals in public life need to be held accountable for bad acts;

    As for the campaign itself: I felt very much that I was fighting to retain the last vestiges of a party that could actually do something, however marginal, for people who needed help; a Democratic Party more like the Democratic Party of FDR or even LBJ than the party of Ronald Reagan. Whatever else one might think of Clinton, it is clear that she still had the idea that government could still serve public purpose actively (see her support for HOLC). With Obama… Well, the bold move he made to distinguish himself from Clinton in Iowa was to put Social Security in play.”

    http://correntewire.com/three_questions_about_the_2008_campaign#comments

  18. […] Most people who, like Krugman, are in the political class, will never encounter ObamaCare (let alone Medicaid). Krugman’s dinner companions get their health insurance through their employers; it’s part of being on the inside, as a tenured professor, a think tank “fellow,” a top-tier newspaper reporter, or a highly valued new media person at a startup. However, I’m guessing that Krugman’s companions also have family, relatives, friends, or acquaintances who are not so lucky, and in consequence they are sensing vague rumblings of discontent in the zeitgeist, a disturbance in the farce. Like this, from Pennsylvania: […]

  19. Just found you through some other links. Great writing and spot on regarding healthcare and and Obama. I ‘hoped’ in 2008 despaired in 2012. I have two kids – one in grad school forever with the worlds worst health plan that I thought would no longer be allowed to be that bad under ACA (and she had serious back issues with massive nerve impingement that unless she can no longer walk she cannot get treated by a specialist) and thus ineligible for Obamacare so she has ZERO CHOICE. We paid cash for her to see a back specialist and paid out of pocket for a CAT scan and and MRI ( to the tune of just shy of $26,000- who needs retirement savings right? ) and he said she needs immediate surgery or she will have permanent damage. We are maxed out and cannot afford several hundred thousand dollars to provide that unless we sell our home and take our son out of college. And we also have a 26 yr old sonbut still at college ( LD issues -needs to take far fewer courses per semester and got super screwed on transfer credits) with major kidney issues who fell off our insurance last year and now we are cobra-ing him on our excellent private employer plan because the costs for everything else were astronomical – his meds alone are $2,400 a month without a prescription plan…

    Obama and his plan helped us ever so slightly in that our son probably could NEVER get health insurance after cobra without its no denial provision and he did stay on our insurance that extra year but wow its sure not the healthcare ‘cure’ he promised. I cannot see how it can ever be real healthcare. I despair we will ever have a single payer system despite the many variant models we have functioning in the world that we could model from. Americans have lost all my respect. We are a stupid and selfish people. Sorry for the rant – your story just set my whole story off again for me.
    Great blog – looking forward to reading you regularly. It would be great if you would consider copy your posts to your FBPage😇(- I visit it more regularly to keep up with family! )

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