An author and consumer advocate warned that new GOP-backed health care and energy legislation on capitol hill would exacerbate the failures of privatization in both industries and create new burdens for both consumers and taxpayers.
"The lessons of both health care and electricity during the last ten years is that deregulating and privatization causes taxpayers and consumers to pay more, suffer more, and get less." said Jamie Court, author of Corporateering: How Corporate Power Steals Your Personal Freedom And What You Can Do About It (Tarcher/Putnam), which traces the failure of deregulation and privatization in both industries, including eye witness accounts of both California's electricity crisis and HMO crises.
"Driving seniors into profiteering HMOs and managed care plans will force the chronically ill into a bureaucratic and adversarial managed care maze where the companies that pay less for patients make more money," said Court, also the author of Making A Killing HMOs and the Threat to Your Health and president of the Santa Monica-based Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights. "Removing two and half decade old prohibitions on the privatization of Medicare will be catastrophic for seniors with the greatest health care problems but little money."
Court said of the energy bill: "The attempt to repeal the Public Utility Holding Company Act will accelerate national electricity deregulation -- allowing regional utilities to take ratepayer dollars out of a region and invest in deregulated markets elsewhere to the detriment of stable supply and pricing. In addition to $20 billion in pork to Big Energy, the GOP bills builds a superhighway for corporations that will collect the tolls and make more money by misdirecting the traffic. Electricity is a necessity of life that shouldn't be hostage to the vicissitudes of the market but this legislation creates conditions by which it can be."
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