Citizens or Corporate Employees? The Medicare Drug Benefit Debates

October 24th, 2003

To the Editor,

The Medicare bill provisions, requiring it to compete with private health care policies while still offering advantages to those insurers, is another signs that we are no longer regarded as citizens of a great nation
We are now employees of a large corporation, the strangest ever to grace a boardroom.

This corporation continuously implements policies which empty its coffers and assumes incredible debts which offer no advantages in ‘tax write-offs’. This corporation plays as fast and loose with its employees retirement and healthcare policies (social security and medicare) as Enron, diverting those funds to other purposes. In a bizarre twist, the main beneficiaries of its policies are all the next largest corporations in America (and offshore), over and above its own ‘shareholders’ (the taxpayer).
Many of us working in this plant are also frequently ill from ‘OSHA’ violations allowing too many pollutants in our ‘plant’. So, now that our CEO sees the approach of the next major proxy fight to be held by the electoral college in November of 2004, some pretense at offering ‘stock dividends’ in the form of drug benefits are underway. Mr. Tommy Thompson, guardian of the shareholder’s ‘health and human services’ told Congress to stop trying to meet the needs of shareholders and do things the “modern way”, abandoning any kind of “absolutist approach”.

But life and death are absolutes and having the freedom to select ones own doctors and the most appropriate medications necessary to promote survival are essential to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness (promised in the corporate prospectus and paid for by our ‘union dues’).

Perhaps it is time the ’employees’ of this sweat shop took the ‘prospectus’ more literally. The prospectus begins with “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union…”. It is indeed time for us all to form a national union and fight for our rights as employees until the day comes when we can be looked upon once again as citizens of a great nation.

Barbara Rubin

Categories: Boston Globe

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