Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Stateside: 21st Century Slavery

Stateside With Rosalea Barker

21st Century Slavery

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr Day--in fact, the twentieth anniversary of its being a federal holiday--so I was able to catch up on seeing evening network news. ABC, CBS and NBC all air their network newscasts at the same time here on the West Coast, and skipping between them was like skimming a stone across a pond, their broadcasts were so alike.

The news bulletins don't just air at the same time, the exact same news stories play on all of them: the botched US strike in Pakistan, Russia and the Iranian nuclear face-off, the publication of research that shows exercise might prevent senile dementia, and, of course, news about MLK Day celebrations.

I found it ironic that President Bush and his wife chose MLK Day to focus on the freeing of the slaves--George visiting the National Archives to look at Lincoln's proclamation ending slavery and Laura attending the Liberian inaugural of Africa's first elected female leader--when the biggest story of the day was the botched implementation of the new Medicare prescription benefit.

The trading of human beings as if they were just another farm animal used to turn a profit from a plantation, and the trading of human beings' information as if they are cash cows to be given to Big Pharma, and the health insurance industry to pump dry of their income are the exact same evil in my book.

Despite all the ballyhoo about how seniors and the disabled--who are the folks who qualify for Medicare (the federal health insurance plan) and Medicaid (the states' health insurance plans)--would be able to choose their own prescription drug coverage, in November, state governments sent everyone's information to whichever health insurance provider the states considered the most appropriate and enrolled them that way.

As a result, some people who get very expensive drugs--such as those for epilepsy--were put on plans that didn't cover their cost, and instead of having a co-payment at the chemist shop of just a few dollars, they had to pay hundreds of dollars to get a month's supply. The federal government has since stepped in to act as a kind of guarantor to the drug companies for 30 days until the botch-up is sorted out. A botch-up caused by crucial data not moving along with the beneficiaries' information when the states signed them up in bulk.

Now, I gather that it's just a sub-set of people whom this affects, but a week ago, I was already hearing from some seniors I was working with that the new drug benefit was just a federally endorsed scam that benefited health insurers and drug companies much more than it does all the folks it allegedly covers for prescription drug costs.

I repeat. The federal and state governments' collusion with corporations in this manner simply enslaves people. It turns them into money-laundering machines, whereby the support given by corporations to elected representatives resides temporarily as some kind of "benefit" and is passed straight back to the corporations, several-fold.

For public broadcasting channel PBS's coverage of this and other news stories on MLK Day, 2006, go to and look at the Monday, January 16 link.



© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news