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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  June 29, 2012 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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06/29/12 06/29/12 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is "democracy now!" >> earlier today, the supreme court upheld the constitutionality of the affordable care act. in doing so, they have reaffirmed a final principle that here in america, the wealthiest nation on earth, no illness or accident should lead to any family's financial ruin. >> supreme court chief justice john roberts sides with the liberal wing of the court to couple president obama's health care law. republicans are now vowing to repeal the legislation including mitt romney, who pushed through
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a similar healthcare overhaul in massachusetts. >> as you might imagine, i disagree with the supreme court's decision and i agree with the dissent. what the court did not to on its last day in session, i will do on my first day, if elected president of the united states, and that is i will act to repeal obamacare. >> we will host a discussion on the supreme court decision, the health-care crisis, and the push by many for a medicare for all single payer system. and filmmaker michael moore >> this really is a huge victory for our side. despite all of my concerns with this law, it did not go far enough, does not cover all americans, it is not true universal healthcare -- nonetheless, the right wing has been handed a serious defeat today.
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>> and what does this decision mean for vermont? which is moving toward becoming the first day with the universal publicly funded single payer health care system? all of that and more coming up. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the supreme court has upheld the affordable care act, president obama signature health care reform bill. chief justice john roberts proved to be the surprise deciding vote, joining with the court's four liberal members. citing the authority of congress to impose taxes, the decision affirms the law's individual mandate provision that requires americans who can afford it to either obtain health insurance or pay a penalty by 2014. shortly after the long-awaited ruling came down, president obama said the supreme court had ended the long-running debate over his health care law. >> the highest court in the land has spoken. we will continue to implement
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this law and work together to improve on it where we can. but we will not do, with the country cannot afford to do is we fight the political battles of two years ago or go back to the way things were. >> although the law remains mostly intact, the supreme court ruled against a provision that allows the federal government to withhold medicaid funding from states that do not comply with the program's expansion. we'll have more on the supreme court healthcare ruling after the headlines. the republican controlled house has voted to hold attorney general eric holder in contempt over congressional probe into the controversial ban sting operation known as "fast and furious." the operation saw u.s. agents encouraging the sale of thousands of guns in an attempt to gain access to senior level figures within mexico's criminal organizations. lawmakers centered holder for withholding documents, making the first sitting attorney general to be held in contempt of congress. house speaker john boehner said the vote would help bring
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justice to the family of u.s. agent allegedly killed by firearms that came from "fast and furious" gun sales for the >> i do not take this matter lightly. i would frankly hope it would never come to this. the houses focus is on jobs and the economy. but the justice department is above the law, and a justice department is above the constitution -- and no justice department is above the constitution, which each of us has sworn to uphold. ask the members of this body to support this resolution so that we can seek the answers the terry family in the american people deserve. >> democrats have announced it as a political stunt. the documents pertain to the justice department subpoenas, not the working operation itself. steny hoyer helped lead around 100 democrats and walked out of the house chamber. >> we're outraged about this
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process. let me quote the speaker, "we will not stand for this." i would ask those who believe we should be protecting the american people, protecting our constitution, not vote on this bill critic let just get up and leave. my colleagues may well follow that advice. >> at the 17 democrats voted with republicans in an apparent bid to maintain the backing of the national rifle association, which supported the contempt vote. holder criticized republicans and vowed to continue his duties. >> today's vote is regrettable culmination of what became a misguided and politically motivated investigation during an election year. by advancing it over the past year-and-a-half, congressman issa and others have focused on politics over public safety. >> syrian activists are
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reporting a new massacre as part of a wave of violence in rebel strongholds near the capital damascus. at least 51 people reportedly have been killed and scores wounded in the damascus suburb of douma. activists say the shredded bodies of up to 20 members of the same family were found after a savage attack by pro- government militia. another 10 people were reportedly killed at a checkpoint as they tried to flee. in an interview, syrian president bashar al-assad vowed to continue the crackdown despite foreign pressure to step down. >> foreign pressure will not have an influence on our stance. we have been under pressure for a long time. it will not have any influence in the past or future. >> foreign ministers are meeting in geneva as part of the efforts to revive the united nations' six-point peace plan for syria. u.n. secretary general ban ki- moon says he is confident the talks will yield results. >> this group will be very much
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focused. these groups are the most involved he stakeholders in resolving this crisis. therefore, i sincerely hope we will create the decisive momentum on the basis of we can move ahead for the implementation of the six-point peace plan. >> british police have ordered wikileaks founder julian assange to turn himself in to begin extradition to sweden where he faces questioning on allegations of sexual assault. assange has been over a week in the ecuador embassy in london, saying he is ultimately concerned avoid being sent to u.s. for the publication of classified as up -- diplomatic cables. he said he will ignore the request to remain under ecuadoran protection. ecuador is still considering whether to give him
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amnesty. the u.s. military may be facing its worst sex abuse scandal in years after dozens of female air force recruits were allegedly victimized by male boot camp instructors at lackland air force base in texas. 12 male instructors are suspected of violations ranging from rape to improper sexual relations. one trainer has been tarnished with raping or sexually assaulting 10 recruits. nine of the instructors are from the same unit and their commander has been relieved of duty. so far, 31 victims have been identified. a u.s. soldier killed a member of his own unit at north carolina's fort bragg thursday before shooting and wounding himself. the gunman has been hospitalized. the worst wildfire in colorado history is continuing to rage after killing at least one person and destroying hundreds of homes. officials said an estimated 346 homes have been incinerated and at least one body has been found
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in a destroyed house after tens of thousands of people were evacuated from the colorado springs area over the last few days. the waldo canyon wildfire has been fueled by scorching temperatures and high winds, but lighter winds thursday aided firefighters battling the blaze. dozens of other massive wildfires are also being fought across the country. the city of stockton, california has become the largest city in the u.s. to file for bankruptcy. thursday, stockton officials filed for chapter 9 protection after the collapse of talks with creditors at the end of a three- month deadline. the city has a long-term debt of $700 million and already has laid off many workers, including one quarter of the police force. stockton is in a major drop in the revenue since the financial crisis in housing dropped. a harsher sentence up for lynne stewart. stewart was found guilty in 2005 of disturbing press releases on behalf of her jailed client,
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also known as the blind shaikh. in 2010, lynne stewart was re sentenced. deplorable conditions at china. the new york based group time the labor watch says a four- month investigation of 10 apple's suppliers revealed widespread abuses including harmful working conditions and excessive overtime. report from conditions in factories that produce cases for apple products appear particularly bad, with workers exposed to loud noise and toxic chemicals. while the uproar over apple suppliers is focused largely on factories of the manufacturer foxconn, the group found violations of virtually all of apple's suppliers and said some companies mistreated workers more severely than foxconn. an ecuadoran plaintiff has launched an effort to recoup the $18 billion in damages the
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oil giant chevron has refused to pay for polluting ecuador's rain forest since the 1970's. amazonian residents won the judgment last year after a long- running case seeking damages for chevron possible dumping of toxic oil waste. chevron has helped avoid the fine by dissolving its assets inside ecuador. thursday, the plaintiffs to file should against chevron holdings in brazil in a bid to target chevron worldwide, a similar suit filed in canada last month. a lawyer in the case said chevron's actions and that the plaintiffs with no choice but to pursue the company around the globe. >> because chevron is filling to comply with the sentences in ecuador, where obligated to look for a series of countries where they have interest in directly attack those interest to collect the amount of money ordered -- needed to repair the a corridor in amazon. >> those are the headlines. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report.
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i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. on thursday, the supreme court vetoed or voted to uphold the affordable care act. president obama signature healthcare reform bill. notably, it was chief justice john roberts to 25 to 4 majority to affirm the individual mandate that requires virtually all americans to either obtain health insurance or pay a penalty by 2014. the move clears the way for the largest revamp of america's healthcare system since the 1960's. although the law remains mostly intact, the court ruled against a provision that allows the federal government to withhold medicaid funding from states that don't comply with the program's expansion. in a moment, we will host a roundtable discussion on the supreme court decision. >> but first, michael moore. i spoke with the academy award winning filmmaker on thursday during "democracy now!" special coverage of the court's ruling, as the decision came down.
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among his many films is the 2007 documentary, "sicko," about the american healthcare system, celebrating its fifth anniversary this weekend in philadelphia. shortly after the supreme court upheld president obama's health care overhaul, i asked michael moore for his response. >> let me speak the positive first. this really is a huge victory for our side. in spite of all of my concerns with this law, it did not go far enough, does not cover all americans, not true universal healthcare -- nonetheless, the right wing has been handed a serious defeat today. kdownis a real smac on the way they think our country should be structured. on that alone, everyone should
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feel really good right now. i know we're not used to euphoria over anything, it rarely happens, but in this case, i think everybody should pause today and celebrate this victory. and then, tomorrow, we have to keep moving the ball down the field. we have to work toward medicare for all so everyone is covered, single payer system, all these things. it would have been harder to move that ball had the decision on the other way today. the best thing about this is that it moves history forward on the right path toward what we will eventually have, just as every other civilized country has it. on that level, i feel really good. tomorrow, or maybe even later today, we will start talking about how this law was also
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structured to create huge, huge profits for insurance companies. in the end, we cannot allow private insurance, people making a profit over people getting sick, a private entrance is not the way to go. we have to keep moving toward that. >> i want to remind people about the documentary you did, which goes very much to the point you just made. this is the trailer of "sicko." >> too many good doctors are getting out of business. to make cannot practice their love with women all across this country. >> when michael moore decided to make a movie on the healthcare industry, top-level executives were on the defensive. what were they hiding? >> that is not on, right? >> no. >> ok.
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>> the intent is to maximize profits. >> when you do not spend money on someone, is a settings to the company. >> i want america that the final health care in the world. >> four health care lobbyists for every member of congress. here is what it costs to buy these men, this woman, this guy. just slightly ahead of slovenia. >> i denied a man and necessary operation, and caused his death. >> in the world's richest country -- >> i work three jobs. >> uniquely american, isn't it? that is fantastic. >> i get a bill from my insurance company telling me the ambulance ride was not preapproved. i don't know when i was supposed
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to pre approved it. after i gained consciousness in the car? before i got in the ambulance? >> there is one place on american soil that has a free universal healthcare. >> which way to guantanamo bay? >> detainee's are given access to top-notch medical facilities. >> permission to enter. i have three 9/11 rescue workers. i just want medical attention, the same kind the evildoers are getting. >> michael moore. he is on videostream with us from los angeles, responding to the supreme court upholding the affordable care act. those that sided with chief justice, who was the swing vote in the decision, ruth ginsburg, stephen breyer, sonia sotomayor, and elena kagan. we of spoken to a lot of single payer advocates say it is not surprising, because this is
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siding with the insurance industry. your thoughts when you say tomorrow we begin the fight for medicare for all. what direction should that go? >> toward exactly what you just said, medicare for all. we need to expand medicare for all the citizens of this country. of course this is something the insurance companies do not want to happen because i ultimately, medicare for all will not work if the people are not in charge of it. even with this victory today, the insurance companies will follow the shot. they will be restricted more than they were in the past, for instance, one of the great things about today is the provision the cannot deny people because of pre-existing conditions. that now stands. the fact parents can keep their children up to the to 26 on their health insurance, that
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stands. they're all these smaller provisions -- the key talking about the mandate being the centerpiece. the other pieces of the law i think are just as important, if not more important. the mandate -- i mean, i never supported it because it mandates people to give money to these profit-making insurance companies. it would be different if it was something the government ran, that you and i were in charge of, then, yes, everybody has to be part of the system. we're all in this together. we all share the burden, all have to take care of each other. that is the part that needs to continue. the national nurses union is going to lead the way on this. we should get behind their efforts. i am very optimistic. i know we have a hard road ahead
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of us, the if you just take the long view of this, every step of the way goes in our direction, not the backwards direction. >> academy award winning filmmaker michael moore, director of the 2007 documentary, "sicko," which exposed flaws of this health- care system. since its release, the number of uninsured rose from almost 46 million in 2007 to almost 50 million today. those with insurance are paying more for their care, meanwhile. this saturday, there'll be an event in philadelphia to mark the film's fifth anniversary including wendell potter, who will be joining us, among others, in a moment. stay with us. ♪ [music break] ♪ [music break]
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>> "talking healthcare." this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez.
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>> on thursday, president obama addressed the nation soon after the supreme court upheld the affordable care act. >> good afternoon. earlier today, the supreme court upheld the constitutionality of the affordable care act. the name of the health care reform we past two years ago. in doing so, they reaffirmed a fundamental principle that here in america, in the wealthiest nation on earth, no illness or accident should lead to any family's financial ruin. i know there will be a lot of discussion today about the politics of all this, about who won and lost. that is how these things tend to be in washington. but that discussion completely misses the point. whatever the politics, today's decision was a victory for people all over this country whose lives will be more secure because of this law and the supreme court's decision to uphold it.
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>> meanwhile, republican presidential candidate mitt romney vowed to overturn obama's landmark healthcare law if he's elected in november. >> obamacare was bad policy yesterday, it's bad policy today. obamacare was bad law yesterday, it is bad law today. let me tell you why i say that. obamacare raises taxes on the american people by approximately $500 billion. obamacare cuts medicare -- cuts medicare by approximately $500 billion. even with those cuts and tax increases, obamacare adds trillions to our deficit and national debt, and pushes those obligations onto coming generations. obamacare also means that for up to 20 million americans, they will lose the insurance they currently have, the insurance they like and want to keep. obamacare is a job killer.
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businesses across the country have been asked what the impact is of obamacare. three-quarters of those surveyed by the chamber of commerce said obamacare makes it less likely for them to hire people, and perhaps most troubling of all, obamacare puts the federal government between you and your doctor. >> on the night before the supreme court issued its decision, mitt romney said if the court overturned the healthcare law it would have meant obama's first term would have been "entirely wasted." to discuss the landmark ruling and what it will mean for healthcare in this country, we're joined in new york by dr. oliver fein, immediate past president of physicians for a national health-care program. he signed a statement thursday saying the new law will not remedy the u.s. health crisis. in philadelphia, wendell potter, a senior analyst on healthcare at the center for public integrity. he is author of, "deadly spin: an insurance company insider speaks out on how corporate pr is killing health care and deceiving americans."
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in washington, d.c., jodi jacobson is with us, editor in chief of r.h. reality check, a website dedicated to covering reproductive healthcare. let's start with dr. oliver fein. the significance of the supreme court up holding what is known as obamacare? >> from our point of view, the question is, how is this going to affect the patients? we think there are three important principles -- access to care, cost of care, and quality. when this lot is to the issue of access is only partial in terms of guaranteeing access. 26 million people are going to be left uninsured according to the congressional budget office when the law is fully enacted. yes, there is an expansion of medicaid, but as we know, the
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supreme court curtailed some of the oomph behind that so there are some states that probably will not go ahead and make medicaid available to people at 133% of poverty level. in terms of quality, yes, there are some things in the low comparative effectiveness research and so on, but i really do not think we have a system that can monitor the whole health care quality that we have. right now if you look at quality studies, they're mostly done on medicare data. why? because medicare is available to everybody, all researchers, where the private health insurance industry keeps its stayed essentially private and proprietary. it is a mixed blessing, this law, where it leaves the
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patient. >> how big is this issue of the court ruling that the government could not penalize states that do not expand their medicaid coverage of the pork? does that mean there will be significantly many more millions that do not end up having health insurance? >> i think it may mean that people do not have access to they will not necessarily have it tomorrow. for instance, we were just talking to our folks in alabama. in alabama, right now, anyone who is childless between the ages of 19 and 64 has no access to medicaid, and irrespective of their income they just do not qualify. under this law, it would have been possible for people up to 133% of the poverty level to gain coverage in alabama but
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that is not going to happen unless the state decides to accept, you know, the option. >> dr. oliver fein >> jodi jacobson, can you weigh in on this, with the supreme court did yesterday? >> basically, the states have the option of not accepting medicaid dollars from the federal government. if they do not, that will be a tragedy for the people who would otherwise qualify for health care. obviously, also, because this is such a political issue and because we have seen some states willingly cutting off, for example, poor women and immigrants from health care, we can expect this will continue to be politicized. texas is already making noise about not accepting as federal dollars. but the fact is, the federal government of france will be paying 100% of those costs -- up front will be pain whenever% of
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those costs. you have to look at the economic costs of not insuring everyone has health care, which are huge. we're in a few -- huge amount of money now because people do not have access to health care, because they are going to emergency rooms. we may see some states continue this politicization in spite of the fact the federal government is offering them funding. alassane over time economically, those states will be hurt. >> you particularly focus on women, this will leave them particularly vulnerable. >> yes, because women make up the majority of the medicaid population, for example. they make up 70% of those covered by medicaid over the age of 14. if women -- if states like texas, for example, are not going to be accepting medicaid dollars for expansion of their
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program, then you are disproportionately affecting poor women. there are estimates that the 26 states do not take the medicaid expansion that have brought the lawsuit, we're looking at a point fineman people that will remain without care that could have been provided care -- 8.5 million people will remain without care that could of been provided care. they will not meet the old criteria of being in the initial medicaid program. >> i want ask about these exchanges, dr. oliver fein. it would go into effect with the supreme court upholding the law. but some governors, scott walker in wisconsin, has said he will wait i think there is a six month deadline before which all these states have to certify they have their plans in place. scott walker is and he will wait until after the november elections to decide what wisconsin is going to do about
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its exchanges. >> well, if in fact wisconsin does not put in an exchange, the law says the feds will go ahead and put it in for them. what he is banking on is of is that the election will turn now -- he is banking on that the election will turn out to favor mitt romney and therefore, the republicans will try to repeal this law, and the exchanges will not become a reality. i think that is a way of politicizing this issue without question. the exchanges are likely to go into effect in almost all states. >> during the "democracy now!" special yesterday, from the steps of the supreme court, we spoke to dr. margaret flowers among many single payer activists in dc, standing in front of the supreme court.
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this was her reaction and she heard minutes before the decision hand down upholding the aca. >> we have got to stop making this political and start talking about the truth. maybe you're expanding coverage to more people, but what kind of coverage are they getting? they're getting poor coverage, a private entrance that will still leave them bankrupt if that a serious illness we will not get to where need to be this way. we must demand, chris dropped -- we must demand congress dropped two words from the bill. this is got to be about -- the >> when you say drop two words, those two words, "over 65"? >> yes, drop and expand medicare to every person in this country immediately.
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right now what we have done is further privatize our healthcare system and gone in the wrong direction. if this was passed by romney, you would've had the same people sitting there opposing it. this is the romney bill passed by obama. it has got to be what is best for the american people. >> dr. flowers, just before you go, what is your plan right now? you have justice roberts voting to save the aca, he joins the more progressive elements of the church -- of the supreme court, and they have upheld this. what is your group going to do right now? >> what we do every single day. we will continue to educate and push for national medicare for all, advocate for every person and demand what every other industrialized nation has -- a universal health care system.
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>> that is dr. margaret flowers, pediatrician and member of physicians for national health programs, standing outside the supreme court. she just gotten word the affordable care act had been upheld. wendell potter, i want you to respond to dr. floors. he had been chief spokesperson for cigna and worked for humana and wrote, "deadly spin: an insurance company insider speaks out on how corporate pr is killing health care and deceiving americans." >> what happened yesterday and my view is a huge victory for americans. dr. flowers and dr. fein are both friends of mine, but we're living in a fantasy world if we think it is possible for us to stop making this political. we live in a political world. i have others say in the past -- heard others say in the past
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that we need a separate policy from politics, and that is not the way the world operates. the people i used to work for, the insurance industry and other special interests, are so entrenched in washington that they control the political agenda. you cannot separate politics from policy. we can view this as a glass half empty and say this is bad if we want to, but it brings people into coverage who would not have coverage otherwise. i have met people who have thanked me for what i have done and said they are alive today already because the affordable care act. to me, if one person is alive because of the aca, it is worth what we have done. this will save many, many, many lives going forward. we had to see this as the end of beginning of reform. this certainly is not perfect. i agree with the doctors and many others, including those in health care for america now and many others who fought to try to
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get this legislation passed, and to withstand constitutional challenge. they agree that we need to do more than what we have, but we have got to start somewhere. if we had lost this, we would be even worse than when we began in 2008 and 2009. >> wendell potter, the exchanges that will be set up under this system and various states, with your long experience in the insurance industry, does the industry look at these exchanges where early as a possible berth to their kind of entrance? >> absolutely. the industry was not at all happy about the exchange in massachusetts, the connector, as it is called, and are very concerned about the changes being set up in the other states. they want to try to control the boards of the exchanges, and well as best they can in some states. they are very wary of this.
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they know they need to participate in the exchanges, but do not know how much of an advantage they will have over their competitors. this is brand new for them. some states will not let them control, for example, california, not letting any health care executive or insurance executive serve on any kind of management or board for the exchange. the exchange's really can help us get closer to single payer. like vermont is doing, like every other state, they have to set up an exchange but they see that as a stepping stone toward having a single payer health system. >> we will talk about vermont in a moment to speak to the head of the health division and state governments. i want to talk about how media violence got it wrong yesterday. for a bigger reason than a joke. the media outlets incorrectly reported the supreme court had struck down the individual mandate at the heart of healthcare reform. let me play a clip from cnn's
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walt blitzer interviewing john king just after the ruling came down. >> chongqing is outside the supreme court watching this unfold. what a setback this would be for the president, for the democrats, those who supported this health care law if they rule the individual mandate is in fact unconstitutional. it raises questions about any of the health care reform law for the >> the individual mandate is the centerpiece of the policy, meaning the mandate requiring most americans to purchase coverage is for the money comes from. most of the money comes through that individual mandate, requiring people to purchase health insurance. the court striking that down is a dramatic blow to the policy and the president politically. >> cnn later apologized for reporting thatit wrong. fox also reported incorrectly the supreme court had struck
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down the individual mandate. >> breaking news on the fox news channel, the individual mandate has been ruled unconstitutional. this was a part of the law that was at the center of the oral argument three months ago on this date with the justices hammered away at the white house and the administration's attorney, questioning the validity of the individual mandate and asking the following put the question -- if you can legislate health care, where in the federal government be stopped? shannon is live outside the supreme court with more. good morning. >> we have just gotten the opinion, just a first look, author by the chief justice john roberts. language specifically going to the commerce clause. he said, this compel individuals to become active and commerce by purchasing a product on the ground there failure to do so affects interstate commerce. the individual mandate cannot be
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sustained under congress's power to regulate commerce. that means the mandate is gone. >> the errors made waves throughout the media world thursday with a leaked email even showing an associated press editor telling his staff to "stop taunting" cnn and others who made the mistakes. a photo that went viral online visually shows president obama as harry truman proudly displaying the cnn homepage on his ipad. i think it was a daily news photographer. but this goes to a bigger point, which is the way the media has covered this whole health care debate. this is interesting. president obama thought it went down because he was watching cnn. if he had watched "democracy now!" when we did our live broadcast, we got it right from the beginning. one of the ways we're getting it right, credit goes to scotus blog, superb blog.
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the issue of how this whole discussion has been couched, dr. oliver fein, i think it had gone the other way, if they had struck down the law and somehow word had gone out they had upheld it, people would of said -- wait, i want to double check that. the way language has been used to describe it, it just created this immense avalanche that lead people not to question it in the end. >> yes, and this whole issue of a medicare for all type of program, we realize was never allowed on the floor of congress. there was never a debate within any of the committees about literally and medicare for all type of approach. you are well aware that when we attempted to make that case in
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the finance committee, eight people were arrested for trying to provide the kind of testimony. the private health insurance industry has been enormously successful in controlling the debate about this law. it seems to me its major fault but this point. >> i think it is also symptomatic is reporting errors of just a media, a world that i used in first over being right because if the reporter was holding up reading the first few paragraphs, if she had read a few more pages, she would have understood the court was merely rolling under the commerce clause, the penalty could not stick, but as a tax, the government could require it. it was just a matter of reading
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a few more pages, but she did not have time with the pressure of her editors to get it first. i want to ask wendell potter about this whole issue of cost under the new healthcare plan. to what degree will cost be reined in? the increase in cost in health insurance? many critics say it will not have an impact on the rising cost. >> not as much as if we did have a single payer system, no doubt about that in my view, but it will help. it will curb the increase in premiums in ways without the law we would not have seen. when we have the exchanges up and running in the states, the local level of competition we have not seen before and people will be able to make some comparisons with plants that have not been able to get before. we had not been able to get a lot of information from insurance companies to make
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informed decisions. insurance companies will have to spend 80% of what we pay on our premiums on care, and if they don't, they have to rebate back to us. we will have to see exactly how effective these things are. to what extent, we will never know exactly what the effect has been because without the affordable care act, i can assure a the premiums will continue to increase rapidly. but the point also is important, we cannot just look at premiums, either. we have to look at the total cost of what people are going to be paying for care, even if they are insured, including what they pay out of pocket. the aca does allow high deductible plans to continue and at least puts a cap on how much we will have to spend out of our own pockets before the entrance will kick in. >> dr. oliver fein, i was going to say it is precisely the calculation that white -- the
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person who is insured is going to have to pay that is really at issue. i worry in this law that what is going happen is more and more people will become under insured. that the deductibles will go up, that the co-payments >> go up, and that people who are presently getting really good insurance through their employer may find their employer begins to shift more and more of those costs. the will shift those costs on to the worker. >> we have to take a break and when we come back, we will be joined by the head of the health care program in vermont, which is poised to become the first single payer state. stay with us. ♪ [music break] ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report.
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i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. it is the morning after the supreme court upheld president of loomis affordable health care at -- president obama is affordable health care act. we're joined by wendell potter, dr. oliver fein, and jodi jacobson. i want to go back to jodi to ask about the right-wing attacks on health care, especially around women. there was a lot of discussion around abortion outside the supreme court with the hundreds of people that were there. how will this law impact women's health care? >> on the whole, first of all, i am unequivocally an agreement with the issue of the single payer piece and should be striving for that and this is a step forward for what we really need. but for women, without question this law is a gain. 45 million women have already received coverage of things like
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pap smears, cervical cancer screenings, other reproductive health care without copays. there has been an increase for women and access to all sorts of health care they need because they are women. what this law does is remove gender discrimination in health care pricing, it enables women to get access to care. as of august, when it can get access to contraception without a copays or without a deductible, just like any of the prescription that may be treated under their plans. for women, on the whole, the law is a win. while we have a lot further to go, there's no question is beneficial for women. of course under the whole debate around the law, women lost access to insurance coverage for safe abortion care. in many states, not surprisingly many of these states that also
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sued the federal government about the health care law, state legislatures and governors are trying to state -- take steps backward in denying women care. i think it will not be unrelated when we see who is willing and not willing, for example, to expand medicaid coverage as to whose it is also trying to strip women of the reproductive care. the state of texas being one example where state legislature has tried to both deny funding to planned parenthood clinics, even though they're not providing abortions, to diminish the amount of funding for public funding for contraceptive delivery and for breast exams -- all of these things that directly impact women and all of these things are at the political core of some of the debates also around with the u.s. conference of catholic bishops is continuing to contest about the law.
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they just do not want women to have access to reproductive health care. >> i want to bring robin lunge into the conversation, director of health care reform for vermont governor peter shumlin. vermont would become the first in the nation offer single payer healthcare beginning 2017. the vermont patient protection affordable care act aims to stem the rising cost of health care and provide universal coverage. >> on thursday, governor shumlin held the decision upholding the federal or affordable care act but said vermont would probably be the least impact sent by it. possibly the biggest effect of the federal law will be funds to help the state pay for its new health-care system. robin lunge, welcome to "democracy now!" explain the system you're putting in place in vermont and how the aca, this law, affects it.
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>> in vermont, we're looking to move forward with the vermont- i'll single payer system that will insure every vermont resident has health care as a right and not a privilege. in terms of the aca, we're looking to move forward with a waiver from the aca when that is available so we could move to a single payer system and not continue to operate a private entrance-based system. >> how did to accomplish this? how do you feel about the single payer activists who are deeply disappointed from yesterday? some of them wanted the affordable care act to fail because they felt it would create much greater impetus for medicare for all, does dropping the word "over 65" from medicare. >> i certainly understand the disappointment of the single payer advocates on a national level. in vermont, we've had a long history of health care reform and a real priority of taking care of our citizens, so we are
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not interested in waiting for the nation to catch up with us. for us, we are in a different position than many other states. >> i want to bring in dr. oliver fein republican senator marco rubio reacted to the ruling on the health care law by saying it is effectively a middle class tax increase. >> and victory for the obama administration is the middle class tax increase. let's be clear. the supreme court ruled only on the constitutionality. they do not rule on whether it is a good or bad idea. i think after all the noise is done, i hope people back home realize what it means. it is now unlawful free to buy health insurance. if you do not buy health insurance, the irs will be on your back and chasing you. they will increase or fees, take away your refund, they will come after you.
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for millions of americans, you do not have to buy health insurance, but if you do not, you're out of compliance and will have an irs problem. >> that was marked a repeal from florida speaking on fox news. -- that was marco rubio from florida speaking on fox news. what about this is a huge tax increase on the federal government on the middle-class? >> there is an element, frankly, of truth to that. the real benefit of the day single payer approach is that we would move from our multi for- profit health insurance industry to a medicare for all kind of program. medicare has an overhead of only 3%. that means 97% of all dollars collected by the medicare program go to pay doctors, hospitals, and prescription drugs.
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private health insurance has an overhead of somewhere between 20%-30%, which means only 70% or 80% of the doctors collected in premiums go to pay for care. but that is only part of the story. then the providers, for instance, hospitals, have to have a staff to deal with all of those companies. we compared toronto general in canada with mass general in boston. 3 billers in toronto with over 300 billers in boston. we could save enormous amounts of money. the same goes for doctors' offices. we all need someone to deal with the denial of claims, the different prior approval guidelines that each company has. frankly, we have a lot of waste
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in the health care system because of the private health insurance industry. >> robin lunge, head of health care reform in vermont, how did you beat the insurance industry in achieving this legislation for vermont? >> we have a culture of taking care of each other in vermont rid it is very important to those in vermont that everyone have coverage. i think part of the way we involved the insurance companies is that currently in our state system, we contract out certain services. we may continue to contract out certain services though there continue to be a role for one payer, and that could be an insurer, depending on what they came in on a bed and are willing to reduce the minister of costs. partly, we were looking for ways to ensure that we got to the gold star and that there was a
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role for least one payer. ,> why didn't president obama dr. oliver fein, to a public option? although many people, like the progressive caucus said if it was not passed, aca, it would immediately pass -- push for medicare for all, do see that momentum? >> i think there needs to be a grassroots movement that sees the value of moving in this direction. frankly, the pain that we see and suffering of patients are going through in this present system, i think is going to generate a real movement among people. this could be the civil rights movement of the 21st century in this country. so i see that kind of movement as being the thing that will lead us to in fact get to a universal coverage system, a
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single payer, medicare for all kind of approach. >> i want to ask wendell potter, where do you see the insurance industry going from here now in terms of -- you are a spokesman for cigna and of the industry well. where the city strategy and industry now to maintain its goal of highest probability possible now that the new system has been approved by the supreme court? >> a couple of strategies. one, try to influence how it is implemented at the state level. they will continue what they've been doing for decades, define a single payer movement in the negative way. i was part of that and know how successful it has been. i agree would be wonderful to be a grassroots movement i have been observing the fact that has not been happening, not taking
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root, if you will. that is because the special interest, surely the insurers, has been an enormous amount of money to influence people. they even call the aca government takeover of health care. they spent enormous amounts of money to misinform people. that will continue. my sympathies are with the single payer people, but they really, really need to start thinking about this and working in a more strategic way, and realizing grassroots is important but it absolutely is not the only way to get where we need to go. >> thank you of very much, wendell potter, former spokesperson for cigna, robin lunge from vermont, dr. oliver fein from the national health program, jodi jacobson of r.h. reality check. i will be on hbo
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