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A huge find from Maine: Do Obama and the 3 "free trade agreements" have a hidden agenda of using "free trade", "standstill","ratchet" and ISDS lock-in as a scam or pretext to block affordable public health care in the US?

mellon's picture

You know how sometimes you're looking around for something and can't find it and then it suddenly turns up and it was right in front of you, but just somewhere you forgot to look? Well, this 2006 PDF "DRAFT Assessment—for Citizen Trade Policy Commission review Report to the Health Care Subcommittee of the Maine CTPC" contains a totally on topic explanation of the core free-trade-agreement vs. affordable health care issues from, of all places, Lambert's home state of Maine. It also contains recommendations for Maine - which are really, recommendations for the whole United States, which we need to get on top of, because the stealth neoliberal Obama Administration, and their trade negotiations are busy in Europe and elsewhere, trying as much as they can to sign our rights away.

It also puts the situation into some historical perspective, showing what the trade negotiators were thinking, at the time. It seems to me that they were and are willing - perhaps even eager to sign away whatever rights ordinary Americans, at the state or national levels, may still have, in exchange for the magic beans desired by the health insurance and drug companies, who see dollar signs overseas, for them, even as they bankrupt the nation here. This is a prime example of an "out of touch with reality" government aggressively and covertly acting against the public interest, on bahalf of large, dare I say, greedy, corporate interests.

I'm still reading this now, but I wanted to pass this URL along quickly because it dovetails with the blog post I did yesterday about the GATS, and explains some of the questions I have been wondering about literally for years. Here is a chance to see the situation as it exists now, and I hope that all of you will sit down and think, what can I do to help bring about a carve out that allows the US to have ANY kind of health care is necessary in the future without having to compensate any foreign company, ever, for something that is not theirs, that they were given for free by and because of what looks to me too much like corruption to be comfortable. This is a PRIME example of why INVESTOR-STATE DISPUTE SETTLEMENT, standstill and ratchet MUST GO. They are ticking time bmbs being thrown at the public interest and potential huge scams to steal trillions of dollars from teh public for absolutely nothing. We dont need investment with these time bombs attached to it!

I read yesterday that these FTAs arguably don't even increase trade. Trade is just used as a pretext to try to steal crucial rights from the people without their knowing it.

Please check back here later, as I may add to this. Ive already identified some important things in here that I need to research a bit.

THANK YOU.

Again, the document is "DRAFT Assessment—for Citizen Trade Policy Commission review Report to the Health Care Subcommittee of the Maine CTPC"

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Submitted by lambert on

.... and with a lot of Maine players named, including Governor Baldacci, Sith Lord of the Maine Democrats.

We didn't know anything about this in 2009-2010, but Hipparchia found that Celinda Lake of the Herndon Alliance (not sure if she's running the same firm now). the Democratic pollster, tried to run a poll on health care that omitted single payer, and citizens forced her to include it.

So it might be interesting to know why she did that.

mellon's picture
Submitted by mellon on

it basically explains the whole situation.

This mess is a big problem. it shows how important it is to elect honest leaders.

One corrupt administration can now completely destroy the situation for a country's people economically "forever" due to ISDS. Once the corporations have this ownership of a market, which happens silently, no future election can fix it.

thats why the FTAs are so secret.

Submitted by lambert on

I thought it was a Word doc. I think it's a big piece of the puzzle. I would imagine Vermont has done the same thing.

One thing I did notice is that it was a draft. I wonder where the final version is? Also, it couldn't hurt to download it...

The wording is in the FTAs themselves. But now there's a case study. In the US.

It also occurs to me that I could FOIA the State of Maine.

Submitted by lambert on

Here's the history as the state sees it, and as a Democratic apparatchik sees it. It was folded into ObamaCare.

It was funded by a "savings offset":

But the program faced battles over funding from the start. In 2007, Maine capped enrollment for two years until lawmakers could agree on a funding fix. The problem was further complicated when voters in 2008 rolled back the tax on soda and alcohol that the Legislature figured would pay for Dirigo. Even its supporters admit the program has never lived up to its promise of serving as many as 180,000 of Maine's 1.2 million residents by 2009.

Under a complicated funding arrangement, Dirigo is funded 50 percent by the "savings offset payment" from private insurance companies. That's the amount the state figures insurers are saving because the uninsured aren't seeking emergency care they can't pay for. The rest of the funding comes from premiums, the federal government and tobacco settlement dollars.

That puts 50% of the program at the mercy of the insurance companies either not gaming the system or not opposing the funding politically, which I never thought was a good idea...

mellon's picture
Submitted by mellon on

The system of private insurers and all the tiers probably at least doubles the cost of health care. It basically creates it's own un-affordable-ness.

See http://www.pnhp.org/resources/pnhp-research-the-case-for-a-national-heal... -

especially the last link.
This paper-

http://www.pnhp.org/states_flatline/State%20Health%20Reform%20Flatlines%...

Also, if you read the summery of events in the Slovakia case, perhaps it all starts to come into perspective- now..

http://www.italaw.com/sites/default/files/case-documents/italaw3206.pdf

The first impulse many people in the US would probably have would be to see the statements of Prime Minister Fico of Slovakia as somewhat comical, or pitiable, but the fact is he was running into a brick wall which there really are only three approaches to - one approach, the for profit approach, always seems to leave a lot of people unable to afford health care and no viable solution for that problem possible within its constraints. (And those constraints keep getting worse and worse with the FTAs)

The second, a single payer system is the simplest solution, for us now, as it keeps the private nature of doctors practices and providers, but pays for them all from the same payer..

It doesnt totally separate health care provision from profit- but it does it enough to enable solid cost controls, which work ONLY when there is ONE SINGLE PAYER- so, no pay more and get extra insurance.. That kills the whole things viability..

Single payer does not nationalize health care, but it does lower costs- It keeps the people healthy at an affordable cost.

the third solution, is what the UK used to have.. where all doctors work for the national health care authority. Thats the cheapest. but its a far bigger change from what we have now.

It may come to that but it doesn't have to.

You notice the various things that Dirigo Health attempted to do to make itself more financially viable, each of them should tell us an important thing about this situation.

For example, the little known fact that competition in for profit healthcare increases prices is the reason they attempted to limit the problem of redundant spending.

A state has a very limited palette with this quite broken situation, made even more limited with each new free trade agreement. One can come to no other conclusion than that, with these FTAs, they are trying to prop up, not lower health care prices.

Another page which illustrates some of the other problems these means tested state plans have..see

http://www.pnhp.org/news/2009/december/lessons-from-massachusetts-health...