Job-based health insurance premiums double while speculators profit

Democracy Now! has the scoop: (link added)

In healthcare news, a new study says job-based health insurance premiums have doubled in the last decade. The Kaiser Family Foundation says the increase far out-paces the accompanying rise in inflation over the same period.

Read the full report (PDF, local copy of PDF, HTML)

Keep that in mind when you hear the President tell us

The government’s top economic experts warn that without immediate action by Congress, America could slip into a financial panic, and a distressing scenario would unfold. More banks could fail, including some in your community. The stock market would drop even more, which would reduce the value of your retirement account. The value of your home could plummet. Foreclosures would rise dramatically. And if you own a business or a farm, you would find it harder and more expensive to get credit. More businesses would close their doors, and millions of Americans could lose their jobs. Even if you have good credit history, it would be more difficult for you to get the loans you need to buy a car or send your children to college. And ultimately, our country could experience a long and painful recession. Fellow citizens, we must not let this happen.

and corporatists from the Democrats and Republicans tell us the same.

What can we get now?

If we can bail out corporate leaders (despite no clear need to do so), we must do what the US public has wanted for decades: single-payer universal health care. It’s high time we either reject the corporate bailout or demand something in exchange for the corporate bailout. It’s a matter of political will.

We can also get accountability, something we’re not getting in regard to the illegal and unethical invasion and occupation of Iraq. Ralph Nader, who predicted this disaster years ago, told Democracy Now! today (high-quality audio, audio, video, transcript):

[…] the Democrats should say, if they’re going to concede this bailout, is to say, “Well, we want comprehensive regulation and disclosure of the financial industry to make sure this doesn’t happen again. We want criminal prosecution of the crooks on Wall Street and disgorgement of their ill-gotten gains. We want a securities derivative tax and higher margin requirements to make speculators use their money, more of their money than other people’s money, like worker pension funds, to keep down speculation, as well as to produce revenues, which might lighten the tax load on working families. And we want to give shareholders control over the corporations they own.”

And they’re not even talking about these kinds of reforms. And this is the best time to get these reforms, because this is called a must bill on Congress””in Congress, and if Bush wants his package, he’s going to have to sign them. So, there’s no reciprocity here. It’s the usual fairly good questions by the Democrats at the hearings, but because they don’t follow through, they don’t have adequate leadership, it becomes a kind of posturing. It’s just maddening to watch how vague Bernanke and Paulson are in answering one question after another. It’s just an evasion, where they keep saying, “We need to do it. We need to do it.” And their Chicken Little material is conducted in closed session with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and the Republican leadership. It’s always in closed session.