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Thom Hartmann debated the Independent Women's Forum's Carrie Lukas about the state of Vermont coming one step closer to providing universal health care coverage for the citizens of their state. Before even getting into the segment here, you've just got to love the names these right wing foundations give themselves trying to pretend that there's anything "independent" about them.
Here's more from Souce Watch on Lukas' group:
The Independent Women's Forum (IWF; not to be confused with the International Women's Forum) is an anti-feminist organization predominately funded by conservative U.S. foundations. On its website it describes its mission as being "to rebuild civil society by advancing economic liberty, personal responsibility, and political freedom. IWF builds support for a greater respect for limited government, equality under the law, property rights, free markets, strong families, and a powerful and effective national defense and foreign policy."
In October 2003, the IWF announced an affiliation with Citizens for a Sound Economy, now the Americans For Prosperity Foundation, with which they shares premises and staff. "The Affiliation agreement provides for staff and resource sharing between Americans for Prosperity and the Independent Women's Forum. Nancy Pfotenhauer, president of the Independent Women's Forum, will also be president of Americans for Prosperity," the announcement stated. Despite sharing staff and location, the announced stated that each group "will be a separate organization with its own board of directors."
As of 2008, IWF is no longer affiliated with AFP and is seeking its own office space.
While claiming to challenge "radical feminists," IWF primarily targets mainstream feminists and feminist organizations, as exemplified by such figures as Hillary Rodham Clinton and such groups as the American Association of University Women.
IWF is a secular counterpart to Religious Right women's groups like Eagle Forum and Concerned Women for America, but these groups often work together. People for the American Way describe IWF as a group that "opposes affirmative action, gender equity programs like Title IX, and the Violence Against Women Act."
IWF members include academic women who are paid to write papers that denigrate the idea of equity for girls and women in education. One of these papers, by Judith Kleinfeld, a professor of psychology at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, has questioned an MIT study on discrimination against women in MIT's science department, calling their findings "junk science."
IWF's constantly-updated web site shows an ever expanding sphere of concerns, all viewed from right-wing perspectives.
In October 2004 the Feminist Majority Foundation has objected to the U.S. Department of State's decision to award part of a $10 million grant to IWF for "leadership training, democracy education and coalition building assistance" to women in Iraq. The funding was from the Iraqi Women's Democracy Initiative.. IWF will be working in Iraq with the American Islamic Conference and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a think tank with neoconservative ties.
Much more there on their funding and their staff, so go read the rest for an idea of who Hartmann was debating here. This group is about as "independent" as Dick Armey's Freedoworks. With that said, onto the segment with Hartmann.
Thom asked Lukas what she thought about Vermont's move toward single-payer health care and of course she decided to do her best to fearmonger over what might happen if heaven forbid they manage to get that enacted for their state. Hartmann pointed out that Stephen J. Hemsley of United Health care was paid over over $100 million last year and that the people of Vermont are sick of someone like him skimming that amount of money off of the top to pay for their health care. He also pointed out that there are over one hundred executives at United Healthcare that make over a million dollars a year.
Her rebuttal is that we can all complain about how much these people are paid and went into a screed on how much lobbyists are paid and throws out the straw man that they're going to be lobbying to have things like acupuncture and plastic surgery paid for and that the bills are going to start going up because they will cover too many procedures in the health care law once the details are worked out.
She didn't offer any proof of that happening anywhere else and Hartmann countered her on the acupuncture lobbyist nonsense.
Hartmann. I don't think the acupuncture lobbyists have that much money in Vermont Carie.
Lukas: Well, who knows because we've seen this happen in Massachusetts.
Hartmann: Well Romney care is very popular in Massachusetts.
Lukas: Well it will be interesting to see how that plays out over time because there's a lot of doctors are leaving, a lot of hospitals are consolidating and insurance providers don't want to play in Massachusetts as it becomes more and more expensive and the profits are...
Hartmann: ...are less and less profitable.
Lukas: ...and are operating at a loss.
Hartmann: Yeah. Well in Vermont there won't be any profits for them, so for the health insurance companies...
Lukas: Well, it's going to be interesting to see what they do to the healthcare system because I think most Americans understand that profit isn't evil. There's a lot of reasons to why we have the most successful...
Hartmann: Well, I think it is evil when it comes to the commons. I think you're right. We are going to see what happens. This is what Saskatchewan did as you'll recall and the entire country of Canada jumped on the bandwagon.
Unfortunately for Ms. Lukas, I think she just did a better job here of laying out why we need to remove the profit motive from the health care system and move to single-payer health care nationally than she intended while trying to argue that somehow greed is good and that the CEO's profiting off of giving as little coverage to their customers somehow means we have the greatest health care system in the world. Well, it might be great if you can afford to pay for it. If you're like most average citizens where it's going to bankrupt you if you are unfortunate enough to need horribly expensive treatment that you can't afford to pay out of your own pocket, it ain't so great.
If Lukas wants to run some ads for Republicans telling everyone how the greedy healthcare CEO's are really just nice people and we shouldn't be mad at them for making that much money off the backs of their customers who would like to have their bills paid instead of that CEO buying his umteenth house, I would welcome her trying to make that case for them on national television.
I would also welcome any of these cable news pundits like Chris Matthews who regularly has their member Michelle Bernard on to explain to his viewers just who is funding this group before he allows her to associate the word "independent" with her name.
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