Jeff “The Joker” Bezos is laughing because he knows the cruel joke is on you, the Medicare patient. Joe “Batman” Biden is nowhere to be seen, nor is his Secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier “The Snoozer” Becerra. Xavier is the in-charge guy in this massive transfer of wealth and privatization of your health care. Even Wikipedia is on to “The Snoozer”:
“Becerra has been widely criticized as Health and Human Services secretary for being absent in the public eye during the pandemic, for being responsible for confusing messaging by federal public health authorities and for the subsequent loss of public trust, and for his passive management style while serving as secretary, with some administration officials, public health experts, and scientists calling for him to improve his performance or step aside, while his defenders said he was given an unclear role as secretary.”
While Xavier snoozes, poor Jeff (He Who Must Control All,) sees a huge wad of money in the coffers of Medicare, the coffers you have been contributing a good percentage of each paycheck into all your working life. NOW Jeff wants to steal your contributions because he isn't rich enough yet and has devised a way to extract the hard-earned cash that was to provide your health care in your retirement years. In a recent article in The Lever, Matthew Cunningham-Cook states in his article, “Amazon Joins The Medicare Privatization Spree”:
“Amazon [a $1.25 trillion company], which has broad market power, reach, and influence, could use its new platform to advance the cause of Medicare privatization at a much more aggressive pace. The consequences wouldn’t just mean more taxpayer dollars funneled to the mega-corporation, but also Medicare recipients facing a health care system with ever more resources being allocated to profit instead of care.”
What is this “new platform”? It is actually an existing company, One Medical, which, as described in its own “profile,” is quite revealing.
One Medical is a membership-based primary care platform with seamless digital health and inviting in-office care, convenient to where people work, shop, live and click. Our vision is to delight millions of members with better health and better care while reducing the total cost of care. Our mission is to transform health care for all through our human-centered, technology-powered model. We are disrupting health care from within the existing ecosystem by simultaneously addressing the frustrations and unmet needs of key stakeholders, which include consumers, employers, providers, and health networks."
Membership based? Yes, for a mere $199 per year, you gain “benefits” that ought to be available to every citizen by virtue of the fact that they are human beings; except in the U.S. So with One Medical you get premium service (such as same- or next-day appointments, appointments that start on time, seamless care at offices nationwide, 24/7 virtual care, on-site lab services, and longer-non-rushed appointments) while all the other schlubs who haven't got two nickels to rub together are paying into their health insurance to scramble for the crumbs left by the privileged. Medicare beneficiaries are not immune from being pushed out... unless they pay the extra.
You are going to get “better health and better care” while One Medical reduces the total cost for care. (But you pay an additional $199?) Medical care has been recreated by One Medical as an “ecosystem,” centered on humans (what the f*ck does THAT mean?) and powered by technology. Oh, glory be! Saved again by technology and the private sector. That “robot arm” surely takes on new meaning in the context of a colonoscopy. And for your billing questions, just press 5 until the 12th of Never.
But how does One Medical make its money? By charging the equivalent of a subscription to SiriusXM Radio? No. The straight up fact is that One Medical is a private equity-backed, primary care provider that generates over half of its revenue from Medicare.
And what do private equity firms do? They make money. No money = no go. And where is the money? In Medicare. The idea is simple; even career bank robber Willy Sutton understood. These outfits get a flat amount of money from Medicare for covering X number of insured individuals and then spend less on actual care by manipulating the system For instance, they report patients as being sicker than they really are (upcoding) in order to boost the overall flat payment from the government, or they just refuse to authorize a procedure. That enhances the difference between what they are paid and what they pay out. They get to keep that difference …up to 40% in the case of Direct Contracting Entities, now benignly known as ACO REACH. What are Biden and Becerra doing to stop this? Bupkis. They are the authors of this scam, whose basis was laid in Obamacare, and seized upon by Trump who, apparently, is at least as smart as Willy Sutton. Please note, Sutton went to prison.
How dumb do these outfits think we are? Unfortunately, looking at their success to date, the answer seems obvious and unsettling. Bezos, One Medical, et.al., are pulling a reverse Robin Hood operation, but in the middle of the town square for all to see. And laughing all the way to the bank. Just like Willy.
Comments by Readers
Dick ConoboyJul 31, 2022
A watchful reader send me this from Demand Progress:
“Amazon is trying to establish a healthcare industry monopoly. Last week, the tech giant announced a deal to purchase health provider One Medical for a whopping $3.9 billion.1 One Medical is a major Medicare contractor — and is a central player in the Medicare privatization program begun under Trump.2
The thought of Amazon getting into the healthcare game is terrifying. Amazon is liable to crush competitors; capitalize on our health data; and accelerate the devastating Medicare privatization process currently underway.2
The Amazon – One Medical merger may be illegal under current anti-monopoly laws. Senator Amy Klobuchar, chair of the Senate committee responsible for anti-monopoly policy, is calling for a thorough investigation by the Federal Trade Commission — and we need to make sure that happens.3
Sign the petition: The Federal Trade Commission must thoroughly investigate the Amazon – One Medical merger for potential anticompetitive effects and privacy violations!
ADD YOUR NAME
Too many Americans already pay too much for bad healthcare4 — and our economy is already dominated by Big Tech.
Amazon has acquired 118 companies in the last 25 years — including pharmacy company PillPack.6 Now, Amazon wants to lock down its monopoly on the medical field by adding One Medical to the list.
Not only would Amazon have too much market power with One Medical under its belt, it also would have a frightening degree of informational power. Should we trust Amazon with our private health data — which could easily be abused to discriminate against consumers on the basis of health conditions? Absolutely not.
Sign the petition: Tell the FTC to thoroughly investigate the Amazon – One Medical merger for potential anticompetitive effects and privacy violations!”
Dianne FosterAug 01, 2022
Thanks - petition signed, small donation made. And thanks to Dick for the constant vigilance against the privatizers. Joe Biden has spent his whole career trying to privatize Medicare and Social Security. I call the White House now and then and tell them they’ll be blood in the streets if they privatize my Medicare!