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Occupy Oakland General Strike, November 2, 2011.

By Katie Robbins

The recent Supreme Court hearing on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or “ObamaCare,” has reopened the false debate surrounding the President’s signature legislation.

Whether to uphold or strike down the ACA isn’t about how to provide truly universal healthcare in a sustainable way. Common sense solutions such as improving and expanding Medicare to everyone were kept completely off the table as the law was being written. The ACA is designed to bail out the for-profit healthcare industry before their profits flat line and the court’s decision will reflect how best to do that.

The health insurance industry spent $1 million a day to influence the national healthcare reform debate in their favor. Written by Liz Fowler of the nation’s largest insurer, WellPoint, the law delivers 30 million new customers and $447 billion in taxpayer subsidies directly to the private health insurance companies.

If fully implemented, the ACA will leave at least 23 million people uninsured, egregious insurance company practices such as charging older people more for policies, denials and delays in approving care, and high rates of medical bankruptcies due to inadequate insurance plans, will continue.

The Supreme Court’s ruling, expected by the end of June, could have a number of different outcomes.

1) The punt: The Court could punt the decision on the constitutionality of the law until after the insurance mandate goes into effect in 2014 and someone has actually been fined for not purchasing health insurance. The court would then take up the case again in 2015 when people have to provide proof of health insurance when they file their taxes.

2) Throwing out the mandate: The Court could toss out the mandate declaring it unconstitutional, affirming the arguments that mandating people to purchase private health insurance is beyond Congress’ role of regulating interstate commerce. The rest of the law could remain intact allowing some of the beneficial provisions to be implemented such as the Medicaid expansion and the regulation of health insurance company practices.

3) Throwing out the whole thing: If the mandate is deemed unconstitutional, the court rules that entire law must be struck down. Without the mandate, the ban on preexisting conditions restrictions and community rating provisions would drive up costs and reduce coverage. The mandate is therefore inseparable from the entire law and the entire law will be struck down.

4) Upholding the law: This Supreme Court has a track record of ruling in favor of the corporate interests (see Citizens United), and the ACA is based on legislation crafted by the health insurance industry. This should not be a surprising outcome. If the law is thrown out and the status quo in healthcare continues, the insurance companies are left with a playing field stacked in their favor without regulations that may eventually threaten profits. Costs will continue to skyrocket; more people will be without insurance.

If the ACA is upheld, many of the law’s provisions won’t be enacted for another two years, plenty of time for the industry to whittle down regulations that get in the way of profits and still have the 30 million customer stimulus. The Supreme Court will rule according to what is best for the corporate interests. Upheld or struck down, the for-profit healthcare model continues to take public money for a public good and make obscene profit. The opposition to the legislation mostly came from people saying the law doesn't go far enough in making healthcare a right.Recognizing the enemy in this debate is a first step toward building unity in fighting back.

By Joseph Peery

CHICAGO—With the taking over of public housing by private corporations comes countless ways to evict residents and make them homeless. Let's look at some of them.

During the Clinton Administration the "One Strike" policy was enacted. It applies only to public housing residents and can have you evicted for merely an arrest of anyone, even a guest associated with your address in any way. How this applies to you is in the CHA Lease, Part I Terms And Conditions, and other documents residents are supposed to receive. Most residents don't receive these, and proof of that is in their files at the management office. The Lease, Part 2, states that a thorough explanation of the Lease is to be given, but no one gets an "explanation" either.

Such a large number of people are being evicted because of this policy that there aren't enough lawyers to defend them. Once in court, many are tricked into signing agreements waiving their right to "trial by jury" or "discovery," preventing them from obtaining evidence that may get the eviction overturned. If the agreement is broken in the slightest way, they are back in court facing immediate eviction with no rights. "Notice to Appear" in court is supposed to be mailed or hand delivered. However, in some cases this isn't done, and proof of that is in the court file downtown in the Daley Center. Court proceeds without the resident present to defend themselves and an eviction is ordered. Their first awareness of this is when the Sheriff appears at their door and tells them they have 30 minutes to get out.

Even if they are lucky enough to immediately get a lawyer to challenge the Agreement, which has legal flaws, as well as the obvious violations of due process above, they can still be denied access to their CHA file where evidence exists that can exonerate them. According to the CHA Ombudsman, private companies managing mixed income units may be able to do this because of TSPs (Tenant Selection Plans) which, again, tenants are supposed to receive but do not.

In the end, that corporate private property rights are ruled more important than your rights as a human being and the eviction stands. As bad as this all sounds, it is exactly what happened, including all the above, to a 33-year old single, unemployed mother of 2, today at eviction court.

I wonder how many miles you walked
as a mailman
before your knees finally surrendered?

I wonder how many dogs you had to mace
in self-defense and
how many letters you faithfully delivered?

The distances you traveled
in Texas over the years
must truly be beyond all calculation.

I remember you coming home
soaked in sweat like salty tears
just wanting to unravel

but I would leap on your back
as if you were a horse
without a saddle

and greet you with my little boy’s salutation of:
“Dada play toys! Dada play toys!”

Recently reflecting on such childish joys,
I said to you:

“Man, that must have been a pain,
to come home after a long day of work
and have this little jerk
jumping all over you
demanding for you to play.”

But your reply, dear father, stopped me short,
because I didn’t expect you to suddenly say:
“Are you kidding me?
That was the best part of my whole damn day.”

Daniel Klawitter.



This article originated in the People's Tribune
PO Box 3524, Chicago, IL 60654, 800-691-6888
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