In an April 28th statement on Sen. Arlen Specter’s decision to run for office as a Democrat, the AFL-CIO said: “We look forward to continuing an open and honest debate with Senator Specter about the issues that are important to Pennsylvania and America.” http://tinyurl.com/c4cdqo This is a commendable position given the fact that Specter himself is not conducting an honest debate on the Employee Free Choice Act. Specter is a servant of the Mellon and Hillman financial elite of Pennsylvania, regardless of political label. His switch reflects the loss of the Republican Party in Pennsylvania to the far-right Scaife money.
In an April 5th email Sen. Specter made the following statement: “There has been a mixed reaction to my announcement that I will not support legislation known as the Employee Free Choice Act, also referred to as Card Check, because I simply could not go along with legislation which would remove the secret ballot. The secret ballot is very fundamental in our democratic process so people can exercise their free will without coercion from either side.”
David Himmelstein is an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program. The author of numerous studies and books, he is a leader in the movement for universal health care.
AARP: H.R. 676 does not address the problem of increasing healthcare costs. Rather, it allows costs to continue to grow. By 2016, projections show total health spending almost doubling to $4.1 trillion and consuming one-fifth of the nation’s gross domestic product. Possible efforts to control costs include: “comparative effectiveness” research, a generic pathway for biologic drugs, and increased attention to prevention and care coordination, none of which are included in H.R. 676.
Dr. David Himmelstein: There is absolutely no evidence that the AARP’s favored cost control mechanisms work. The CBO has refused to credit significant savings from care coordination, or prevention. The recently published Medicare Demonstration project of care coordination found no savings. A New England Journal of Medicine review of prevention found that most prevention efforts result in increased costs, not decreased.
Comparative effectiveness research is worthwhile – as are prevention and care coordination – if done right – but is unlikely to significantly cut costs.