Monday, May 18, 2009

Supply and Demand, Gas Prices and Health Care Profits.

Two amazing stories that illistrate just how “free” we really are, contrary to the Republan rhetoric that warns we’re losing our freedom, and how helpless we are under the control of corporate kingdoms. First, health care…

Huffington Post: Just four days after standing next to President Obama and declaring their commitment to control health care costs to the tune of $2 trillion over 10 years, the insurance industry, drug and medical device makers, and hospital groups are backing off their promise.

Hospitals and insurance companies said Thursday that President Obama had substantially overstated their promise to reduce the growth of health spending. They say they agreed to slow health spending in a more gradual way and did not
pledge specific year-by-year cuts. "There's been a lot of misunderstanding that has caused a lot of consternation among our members," said Richard J. Umbdenstock, the president of the American Hospital Association.

First, these groups are showing their true, dishonest colors. He and other health care executives said they had agreed to squeeze health spending so the annual rate of growth would eventually be 1.5 percentage points lower. One of the lobbyists … said the savings would "ramp up" gradually as the growth of health spending slowed. Another said "there was no specific understanding" of when the lower growth rate would be achieved. "It's a target over a 10-year period.

It's about profits. Every dollar of health care "waste" in the system, every dollar that goes somewhere other than to your health, that's a dollar more in the pockets of a rich hospital administrator or insurance industry CEO.

I know, big surprise right? It was kind of. But then this story hit me the wrong way after arguing for so many years there really isn’t a free market or real “supply and demand.” But then, you probably knew that.
AP: Oil prices continue to rise even though demand has hit its lowest level since Sept. 11, 2001. Crude inventories are at their highest levels since 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait. “They’re buying just to buy into the momentum,” said analyst and treader Stephen Schork. “No one is looing at the fundamentals.”
Didn’t we hear over and over how China is using so much more oil now and speculators we’re just doing their jobs. Oil companies that were demanding “drill baby drill” have no profit incentive to do just that, and demand is nothing but a load of BS.

This recession has pulled away the curtain on our corporate owners. Milton Friedman has his group of followers marching happily off the cliff, taking us all with them.

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