The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 73/No. 37      September 28, 2009

‘Health reform’ plan
aimed against workers
Socialist candidate: ‘guarantee
health care for all’
(lead article)
NEW YORK—The Socialist Workers candidates are campaigning for “guaranteed lifetime medical care for everyone,” said Maura DeLuca, Socialist Workers Party candidate for New York City public advocate, at a campaign rally here September 11.

While both Democratic and Republican party politicians in Washington want to exclude undocumented workers from receiving any medical care at government expense, and some even want to prevent them from buying it, “we demand the best quality medical care for every single person in this country, U.S.- or foreign-born, with or without papers,” said DeLuca. “And we oppose any restrictions on how much care or what type of treatment you can have.”

President Barack Obama has made it clear he will not include government funding for any abortion services in his plan, DeLuca noted. “The Socialist Workers candidates say no to any restrictions on women’s right to abortion—no to requirements that women receive ‘counseling’ prior to an abortion, that they view pictures of the fetus, that they wait a day to have the procedure, or that they obtain parental approval if they are not adults,” she said.

The capitalist rulers are using the health-care debate to divide workers and break down class solidarity, she said. “They claim undocumented workers are getting health care at the expense of U.S.-born ‘taxpayers.’ They pit Medicaid patients against privately insured patients. Our campaign rejects this.

“We also reject the idea that those of us who don’t have insurance because we can’t afford it are ‘irresponsible.’ I am one of those workers, a garment worker who can’t pay the insurance premiums,” DeLuca said. “I am not ‘irresponsible.’ The capitalist rulers in their contempt for working people are now demanding that we all buy insurance, one more way we are being forced to pay for their social and economic crisis.”

The socialist candidate took up ex-Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s charge that Obama’s health-care plan envisions “death panels” that would deny the elderly or disabled care. “But there is nothing new in this,” said DeLuca. “The elderly, as soon as they can no longer be exploited by some employer for a profit, are useless to the capitalist system. They are already being denied care they need and will be denied more as the Democrats and Republicans cut billions out of Medicare, which Obama’s plan calls for.”

DeLuca said it is not true that the bills currently in Congress are a cover for socialism, as some conservatives claim. A socialist system, she said, would be one where workers and farmers held political power and used that power to meet the needs of the vast majority, not guarantee the profits of a tiny handful of wealthy families. “That can only come about under an entirely different social and economic system,” DeLuca stressed, “not one based on health care as a commodity, nor on collecting insurance premiums, but on guaranteeing health care.”

It’s not a question of coming up with a better “plan” for health care today, but of building a movement that can “carry out a revolution that throws the capitalists out of power,” said DeLuca. The Cuban Revolution sets a good example of what can be accomplished when the working class takes power, she said, pointing to the volunteer doctors the Cuban government sends around the world and the medical school it operates that welcomes working-class students who want to return to practice medicine in their home regions.

Joining DeLuca at the campaign rally were SWP mayoral candidate Dan Fein, who spoke about why the economic depression is not ending but just beginning, and Tom Baumann, SWP candidate for borough of Manhattan president, who spoke out against Washington’s wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, and its parallel wars on the rights and living standards of workers in the United States. Participants contributed more than $700 to the New York socialist campaign.  
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