Hartford Gun Violence / Health Care Reform Means Everybody Has Health Care

by David Samuels

This column appears in the March 30 – April 6 edition of the Hartford News.

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio
Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. First, third and fifth Tuesday of each month. 8:00 PM Eastern Time 7:00 PM Central 5:00 PM Pacific. Tune in! http://www.so
metroradio.com/  Next show: April 4. Check out our No Sellout blog for info on the rest of our Community Party Media lineup, including False Choice: the Bipartisan Attack on the Working Class, the Poor and Communities of Color. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/12/20/community-party-media-3/
Community Party Radio Podcasts

Action Alert: Support the Meagen Hockaday and Trayvon Martin Acts!

 

The Meagen Hockaday Act has been officially filed: S.B. No. 440
Visit our No Sellout blog for details on how you can support this police reform legislation.
Trayvon Martin Act
The Judiciary Committee has raised H.B. 7258 introduced by House Majority Leader Matt Ritter.
 
 
Safe Work Environment Act
The Safe Work Environment Act would eliminatlegal barriers that people currently face when they file a lawsuit against their employer.
Community Update
 
 
 
Poverty is State Sponsored Violence
 
 
I saw Mayor Luke Bronin and the usual suspects talking about the tragic murder of Hartford teen Keon Huff, Jr. Poverty = violence. Hartford annually has one of the highest poverty rates in the nation. The Democrats on the city and state level are depriving Hartford and other urban areas of jobs and resources.
Gov. Dan Malloy has introduced another racist, neoliberal budget that slashes funding for human services (including the closure of Blue Hills Substance Abuse Services), while providing tax cuts to the rich. Bronin is pushing to close public schools and cut city employees’ wages and benefits, while Malloy does the same to state workers (I’m a state employee) – the public sector is the largest employer of Black people and women.
The violence in Hartford streets is a DIRECT RESULT of the fiscal policies of the Democrats, who have controlled this city for decades. The proliferation of guns is connected to the underground economy that thrives in low income communities of color. There are no shootings on the streets of West Hartford, Avon and Greenwich. Economic prosperity is the largest component of public safety. Poverty is state sponsored violence. Bronin, Malloy and the Democrats must be held accountable.
 
There’s an excellent piece in the Huffington Post on missing Black and Latinx teens in DC. The point of the column is that missing Black and Latinx youths don’t get mainstream media coverage because many live in poor areas, and are consequently viewed as being less valuable. This story is directly related to the Democratic Party depriving communities of color of jobs and resources. Many of these Black and Brown teens are running away from chaotic environments resulting from poverty. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/theres-a-bigger-story-behind-the-viral-tweets-about-missing-black-and-latinx-teens-in-dc-trafficking_us_58cc0a65e4b00705db4f182b?
Poverty is man made, a result of fiscal policy decisions by elected officials. Malloy’s budget caters to the rich and big donors to the CT Democrats. This is the conversation that many Blacks who support the Democrats don’t want to have – they prefer to scapegoat the parents, and the youths themselves (‘Pull your pants up!’). If you’re upset about what’s happening in Hartford and DC, get mad about how the Democrats, who control most urban areas, are setting up Black and Latinx youths to fail. As this column went to press, the city’s ninth homicide occurred on Washington Street; Hartford Police said they believe the murder is drug related. Check out the Resources section for the Community Party’s Sandra Bland Police Reform & Economic Justice Plan.
 
 
The Bipartisan War on State Employees
 
 
Last Friday state employees testified against a slew of anti-labor bills and protested at the Legislative Office Building. The people (including the Yankee Institute) who are bashing state employees have no problem with the CT businesses who are stashing $40 billion in offshore accounts (ConnPIRG report) or the $7 billion in revenue the state loses yearly, due to corporate tax breaks (CT Voices for Children report). Those who bash the ‘greedy’ state workers (average salary $50,000) who have agreed to concessions twice since 2009, for having the gall to demand that the rich and corporations also contribute to this ‘shared sacrifice’ are either tools of the wealthy and big business (Yankee Institute), or dupes who regurgitate what they’re fed by the corporate media. Just know that the bipartisan attack on the working class in this state won’t end with state workers. After the decades of wage / benefits gains by public sector workers are rolled back and the bar is lowered, they will come for you next… Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton turned a $6 billion state budget deficit into a $1 billion surplus by raising taxes on individuals earning $150,000 and couples earning $250,000 when filing jointly. He also raised the minimum wage, and passed a law requiring equal pay for women. Facts trump ignorant rhetoric. The state employee unions aren’t helping matters, as they continue to endorse the Democrats who are savagely attacking their members. This is why Malloy and many Dems feel like they can smack around state employees all they want, even as their power in the General Assembly rapidly erodes. The Republicans will most likely take control of the Governor’s Mansion and the legislature in 2018. It’s up to the workers to identify third party candidates on the city and state level who will truly support labor.
 
Black is Back Coalition Seeks Electoral Candidates
“The Democratic Party acts like it owns Black America. It certainly owns most of the Black political (Misleadership) class, who have used their local, state and national offices to facilitate the mass Black incarceration regime at every stage of its deployment. These servants of the police state and war need to be challenged by candidates that reflect the left-leaning politics of Black America. The Black Is Back Coalition is seeking candidates.
The Black Is Back Coalition, having last year produced a 19-point National Black Agenda for Self-Determination, is now exploring ways to field or support Black radical candidates willing to run for office on a self-determinationist platform. To kick the project off, the Coalition will hold a two-day Electoral Candidate School on April 8 and 9, in St. Petersburg, Florida.”  https://blackagendareport.com/don%27t_vote_for_black_misleaders
 
 
Policy Watch: Obamacare + Trumpcare = No Care, Single Payer is Real Reform
 
 
Last Friday President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan agreed to pull the American Health Care Act aka Trumpcare, because it didn’t have enough votes. Liberals are celebrating Obamacare, a health care law conceived by the right-wing think tank the Heritage Foundation, written by insurance industry lobbyists and first implemented by Republican Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, that leaves 24 million people uninsured. The reason why Trumpcare didn’t pass was because it was even worse. That’s not something to rejoice about. The U.S. is the only industrialized country that doesn’t have single payer health care. Do a victory lap when EVERYBODY has health care.
Now if only liberals would get outraged about 24 million people being uninsured under Obamacare like they did about the even worse Trumpcare, or about Obama bombing seven predominantly Muslim countries as they are about Trump’s Muslim ban, we could start to really change this country. Looking at liberals gloating on social media, it’s clear that for many liberals and conservatives the health care issue was NEVER about health care – it was about ‘my party can whoop your party’.
Ralph Nader made an excellent point regarding Bernie Sanders: if Sanders truly wants single payer health care, he should have introduced a single payer bill by now. Instead he wouldn’t do it, because Democratic Party leaders were telling him that the focus should be on protecting Obamacare. Last Sunday Sanders said on CNN’s State of the Union program that he will introduce single payer legislation. Nader pointed out that the conservative Wall Street Journal wrote an editorial, saying that if the Republicans can’t pass Trumpcare, they might as well pursue a single payer health care system. The United States is the only industrialized nation that doesn’t use single payer, because insurance companies spend millions of dollars lobbying Congress and whoever is in the White House to prop up the current system. The United States is ranked #38 in quality of health care by the World Health Organization. France, which uses single payer, is #1. Trumpcare would have resulted in another 24 million people losing their insurance by 2026. The more appropriate names for the current law and its failed replacement are ‘Obama don’t care’ and ‘Trump couldn’t care less’. THIS IS NOT HEALTH CARE REFORM.
Here is a partial 2016 list of the amount of money spent by health insurance companies on lobbying, courtesy of opensecrets.org.
Total for Insurance: $146,662,996
Total Number of Clients Reported: 168
Total Number of Lobbyists Reported: 857 
Total Number of Revolvers: 490 (57.2%)
Campaign Contributions from this industry
View totals by: Client/Parent | Subsidiary/Affiliate
/Parent Total
Blue Cross/Blue Shield $13,846,109
Prudential Financial $9,400,000
America’s Health Insurance Plans $6,960,000
Metlife Inc $5,110,000
Northwestern Mutual $4,700,000
American Council of Life Insurers $4,522,000
Cigna Corp $4,520,000
USAA $4,490,000
New York Life Insurance $4,260,000
Property Casualty Insurers Assn/America $4,180,000
AFLAC Inc $3,740,000
Nationwide $3,650,000
State Farm Insurance $3,252,000
Allstate Insurance $3,130,000
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance $2,840,000
Travelers Companies $2,730,000
Chubb INA $2,600,000
Zurich Financial Services $2,600,000
Liberty Mutual $2,460,000
Allianz $2,420,000
National Assn of Insurance & Financial Advisors $2,315,195
Guardian Life Insurance $2,260,000
AEGON NV $2,220,000
Association for Advanced Life Underwriting $2,195,282
Loews Corp $2,103,670
Genworth Financial $1,942,509
Primerica Inc $1,780,000
Manulife Financial $1,670,000
Alliance for Community Health Plans $1,600,000
National Assn/Mutual Insurance Companies $1,580,000
American Insurance Assn $1,530,000
Hartford Financial Services $1,510,000
Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers $1,440,000
Reinsurance Assn of America $1,430,000
Lloyd’s of London $1,330,000
Indep Insurance Agents & Brokers/America $1,330,000
National Assn of Health Underwriters $1,320,000
Swiss Reinsurance $1,230,000
Lincoln National Corp $1,170,000
American International Group $1,150,000
eHealth Inc $1,100,000
Pacific Mutual Holding $905,034
Marsh & McLennan $900,000
AON PLC $810,000
Mutual Of Omaha $788,000
Ambac Financial Group $750,000
Delta Dental Plans Assn $730,000
Unum Group $710,000
Assurant Inc $670,000
Thrivent Financial for Lutherans $630,000
American Fidelity Assurance $600,000
Prudential PLC $560,000
National Assn of Dental Plans $530,000
Assn of Bermuda Insurers & Reinsurers $510,000
When you hear a member of Congress or a president talking about health care, you’re hearing money talking. Medicare for all. Everybody in, nobody out. The rest of the world does it.
 
Resources
 
Community Party urban policy paper:
New York State Senate Single Payer Bill:
Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and world news headlines. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Check out my Facebook page for daily news commentary. https://www.facebook.com/david.samuels.948  Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives https://www.facebook.com/wqtqfm and So-Metro Radio the first, third and fifth Tuesday of each month at 8:00 PM for commentary on urban issues http://www.sometroradio.com/  Check out our No Sellout blog (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/) for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s archive for selected columns (http://www.northendagents.com/). Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com

 

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