Arianna Huffington on Health Care

2004 former Independent Challenger for CA Governor


Only a public option will truly contain healthcare costs

Without a public option, there's no real cost containment. There's no real competition for the health care industry. Why go for something that will not be real reform?
Source: Huffington interview on "Countdown" with Keith Olbermann , Nov 24, 2009

RomneyCare in Mass. wasn't perfect, but a big step forward

As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney managed to provide health care for every man, woman, and child in his state (at least on paper) using public-private partnership that is a model for what is politically achievable in the health care arena. It wasn't perfect, and some people fell through the cracks, but it was an enormous step forward.
Source: Right Is Wrong, by Arianna Huffington, p.274 , Apr 29, 2008

Mind-boggling Medicare/Medicaid cuts hurt seniors & the poor

Despite its enormity, the 2008 budget includes a number of mindboggling cuts, primarily in two of the most popular and successful programs of the federal government: Medicare which pays for health care for older Americans, and Medicaid, which provides health insurance for the poor. Indeed, the only piece of Medicare the president doesn't cut is a windfall for the drug companies--the dreaded Part D, which leaves millions of older Americans falling through its now infamous donut hole in the drug subsidies. The budget, for example, did not include any cuts in payments for Medicare Advantage Plans, which are run by large insurers.

The president's budget axe fell on the elderly, the indigent, the ill, and the three million Americans currently receiving Medicaid's home health care.

Source: Right Is Wrong, by Arianna Huffington, p.270-271 , Apr 29, 2008

Insurers & Big Pharma don't want Medicare drug buying

Two industries have been relentless in their opposition to any changes in the current system and, if you follow the money, it's not hard to figure out why. Insurance companies make a profit on you only if you pay for health care you don't use, so any plan to force them to cover everyone regardless of risk factors would cut into their truly sick margin of profit. And the big pharmaceutical companies would prefer not to have to haggle with the government over drug prices. As of January 2008, the drug industry had injected over $9 million into various federal races this election cycle just to make sure the political class is kept sufficiently sedated.

The view that health care is a fundamental right is so well established that no one on the Right dares to seriously argue that the poor don't deserve health care. No, the Right will tell you that the free market and individual savings accounts will take care of everyone.

Source: Right Is Wrong, by Arianna Huffington, p.276 , Apr 29, 2008

SB-2: Half-baked measures leave 3 million uninsured

BUSTAMANTE [to Huffington]: Weíre in a budget situation that I donít believe we can get a universal health care plan at this time. I believe that SB-2 is probably the most important piece of legislation this year in California. It will provide 1 million working people health care in California.

HUFFINGTON: Actually, SB-2, the John Burton bill, doesnít include cost controls. And thatís the problem with a lot of half-baked measures out of the legislature. I donít believe we should implement another bill which does not include cost controls and which also leaves over 3 million Californians uninsured.

BUSTAMANTE: Thatís true.

HUFFINGTON: Another half baked measure.

BUSTAMANTE: Well, not half-baked. Itís a good step.

HUFFINGTON: But ultimately, we need universal health care. The only reason we donít have it is because of the millions of dollars being paid by insurance companies and the medical industry to politicians and thatís ultimately the only reason.

Source: [Xref Bustamante] Recall Debate, Cal. State U. at Sacramento , Sep 24, 2003

Stop platitudes about fraud-issue is 6 million uninsured

Q: Your comments on Medi-Cal fraud.

HUFFINGTON: Everyone is against fraud. The real disgrace that the republicans and democrats are doing nothing about is the fact that you have over 6 million uninsured in the state, and we have children that have to go into emergency rooms just to get the basic care. That is a great disgrace. And that would be my highest priority, rather than simply all of this platitudes about fraud, [and what are the amounts for] the estimates coming out from suspect think tanks.

Source: Recall debate in Walnut Creek , Sep 3, 2003

Tobacco Bill was bought & paid for by Big Tobacco

Sleazy episodes like Big Tobaccoís efforts to keep its product on the lips and in the lungs of Americans are a primer on the corrupting influence of money in our political process. Jesse Helms bellowed, ďAny increase in the cigarette excise tax will fall disproportionately on low and middle-income consumers-the citizens least able to pay.Ē Of course, he was strangely silent on the fact that it would also fall on the tobacco companies-those most able to pay. Helms has received over $175,000 in tobacco contributions over the last decade.

Sen. Wendell Ford (D, KY) wrung his hands over the possibility that increasing the cigarette tax would lead to reduced smoking. Thatís clearly an undesirable outcome, especially when youíve received-as Ford has-$94,773 from the tobacco industry. Trent Lott ($88,000 in tobacco contributions) even went so far as to call the president twice and warn that raising taxes on cigarettes was a ďdeal breaker.Ē

Source: How to Overthrow the Government, p. 52-54 , Jul 2, 2000

AIDS drugs show industry focus on profit over health

One of the most chilling illustrations of the drug companiesí misplaced priorities was [with regards to] South Africaís Medicines Act of 1997. The act was intended to make it possible for its infected citizens, many of whom live in extreme poverty, to obtain inexpensive AIDS drugs. The big international pharmaceutical companies sued South Africa, preventing the law from taking effect, and lobbied for severe trade sanctions to be placed on the country.

That the drug companies are acting out of pure self-interest is not surprising. But the drug industryís unadulterated self-interest is also governing public policy. Despite two years of complaints from public health groups, Gore remained steadfast on the industryís side until embarrassing public protests at campaign stops forced him to issue anemic defenses of his position. The protesters persisted, [eventually resulting in a] long-overdue change in the Administrationís position is directly traceable to them.

Source: How to Overthrow the Government, p.169-73 , Jul 2, 2000

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Page last updated: Apr 29, 2021