prominent supporter of Barack Obama, former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher,
and Gail Wilensky, a health care adviser to John McCain, were members of a
high-level United Nations panel that recently issued a report endorsing higher
domestic taxes and even global taxes to finance a dramatic expansion of
government-run health care coverage.
report of the World Health Organization’s Commission on Social
Determinants of Health called for
“special health taxes and global tax options” to deal with gaps and problems in
health care coverage around the globe. The WHO report cited “a strong argument
in favor of the development of a system of global taxation” and said that an
international tax on airline tickets for the purpose of fighting HIV/AIDS,
which is already being implemented by some countries, was a good start.
report, entitled, “Closing the gap in a generation: health equity through
action on the social determinants
of health,” also urged “effective taxation of transnational corporations” and
the possibility of an International Tax Organization to collect revenue.
comments posted on the commission’s website, neither Satcher nor Wilensky disputed any
of the report’s calls for international tax increases.
however, is now backing away from the report. “I endorsed the overall goals of
the Commission and most (but not all) of the highest level recommendations,”
she told AIM. “I do not and did not endorse many of the specific proposals but
did not feel it was necessary to write a specific dissent although I could have
done so. I do not favor any specific global taxes.”
who served as Administrator of the federal Health Care Financing Administration
and also advised the Bush Administration on health care issues, added, “Each of
us were on the WHO Commission as individuals who have held or were
holding policy positions within our respective governments but not as
representatives of our governments or a particular political candidate.”
has not yet responded to requests for additional comments on the WHO commission
Philip Stevens of the free market-oriented International Policy Network said, “The comrades in the old USSR would have loved this
member of the commission, Yan Guo,
Vice-Director of the Communist
of Health Policy, said of the commission report, “Let’s join our hands in this
terms of national policies, the commission “advocates financing the health-care
system through general taxation and/or mandatory universal insurance” and
declares “The evidence is compellingly in favor of a publicly funded
Americans should not only be taxed to pay for their own health care, they
should be taxed to pay for health care for the rest of the world.
the global level, the report said that a “tax on foreign currency
transactions,” which could affect the value of Americans’ mutual funds and
pension plans, could not only “reduce financial instability” but become “one
among many potential sources of revenue for financing health systems in low-
and middle-income countries…” It said such a tax, even at a “very low rate” of
.02 percent, would generate between $17-35 billion a year.
Commission on Social Determinants of Health, which was launched in March 2005,
is widely viewed as a U.N. effort to influence the debate over health care in
The involvement of David Satcher, a major supporter of the Democratic Party,
and Wilensky a Republican donor, gave the report the appearance of
bipartisanship in terms of its impact on the U.S. political system.
major recommendation, covered by the media when its final report was issued on August 28, was that
all nations should offer universal health care coverage paid for with “stronger
chairman Michael Marmot, head of the epidemiology and public health department
at University College London, was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying that
“Virtually all advanced countries have universal health care systems but we
don’t think that should be limited to high-income countries.” The story did not
mention that the report urged global taxes to accomplish this goal.
the Inequitable Distribution of Power, Money and Resources” is one of the major
socialist recommendations of the commission. To achieve this requires
“collective action” and the involvement of “global institutions,” it
The U.S. Government is the single largest donor
to the WHO, having contributed $101 million in fiscal year 2008. The Bush
Administration has requested an increase to $106 million in fiscal year
The WHO has long promoted centralized
government-sponsored and financed health care, writes
Twila Brase, in an article on the website of the Foundation for Economic
Education. WHO has also been engaged in “furthering redistribution of American dollars
around the globe,” she says.
Brase, a public health nurse and president of the Citizens’ Council on Health Care, maintains that the result of such schemes is more government
control of health care and the eventual rationing of services and treatments to
selected groups and individuals.
Wilensky’s decision not to file a dissent to the
WHO report has meant that the controversial recommendations of the commission
have been portrayed in the U.S.
and foreign media as justification for more government involvement at all
levels in health care.
“If you won’t file a dissent,” Brase told AIM,
“that means you agree with the report.”
Now a senior
fellow at Project Hope, an international health education foundation,
Wilensky supported former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s presidential
campaign but is now identified as “adviser” to the McCain campaign on health care issues and “a contributor to
the McCain Healthcare Plan.”
The McCain plan purports to offer “guaranteed access” to all Americans
through an arrangement with the states. It also proposes tax credits of
$2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for families to choose their own health plan.
But his plan has been strongly criticized for undermining employer-based
coverage by eliminating a tax break that employees receive if their employer
provides their health care.
In regard to so-called “health disparities”
among people of different races and nationalities, which were a major focus of
the WHO commission and its report, the Obama campaign website has already
picked up this theme. “Obama and Biden will tackle the root causes of health
disparities by addressing differences in access to health coverage and
promoting prevention and public health, both of which play a major role in
addressing disparities,” it says.
Brase says the term “health disparities” is
being used to promote health care as a civil right that requires more
In this context, it is significant that, on June
7, 2007, Obama
joined liberal Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy in introducing a “Bill to
Eliminate Health Care Disparities,” which would authorize nearly $500 million
to “improve health care for racial and ethnic minorities.” Justifying the
legislation, the Obama Senate office said that, “Racial
and ethnic minorities make up approximately one third of the U.S. population
but disproportionately comprise 52 percent of the uninsured and suffer from
illness and death at a greater rate than Caucasians.”
The House version of the Obama bill is sponsored
by Illinois Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.
Interestingly, WHO commission member Satcher has
been director of the federally-funded Center for Excellence on Health
Disparities since 2002. It is funded by the National Center
for Minority and Health Disparities, which is part of the National Institutes
of Health, a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
While he is not identified as being officially
involved in the Obama campaign, he has contributed thousands of dollars to the
Democratic Party and its candidates, according to Federal Election Commission
(FEC) records. The records show $2,300
to Obama, $1,500 to Illinois Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., and $2,000 to
the Democratic National Committee.
As committed as he is to expanding the federal
role in health care, including through more federal spending and mandates on
individuals to obtain insurance, Obama’s long-time friend and supporter Dr.
Quentin Young has expressed disappointment that the candidate has not endorsed a socialist-oriented “single-payer” federal
government-financed health care plan for all Americans.
Young is a major figure in the Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP)
and was one of many activists who were brought in to advise then-First Lady
Hillary Clinton when she drafted her national health care plan. That plan went
down to defeat.
Young, as well as Communist
terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, were among those helping to launch
Obama’s campaign for the Illinois State Senate in 1995. Young’s medical office
listed Obama as a patient and this photo shows Obama celebrating Young’s 80th birthday.
A key figure in the effort to abolish Congressional committees
that could uncover secret communists and communist networks, Young was accused by the House Committee on
Un-American Activities of being a Communist Party USA (CPUSA) member but
refused to answer, saying
it was “irrelevant.” The counsel for the committee declared, “Dr. Young, the
committee had received information that you have been a member of the Communist
Party, specifically, a member of the doctors’ club of the party on the North
Side of Chicago, a club that was called the Bethune Club.”
During an April 24, 2008, interview, conducted
by this journalist at the offices of the PNHP, Young replied, “No, No” to a
direct question about whether he had ever joined the CPUSA.
years ago Young was honored by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois at
its Bill of Rights Celebration, along with Illinois Democratic Senator Dick
“Dr. Young consistently has demonstrated courage in the face of
efforts by government to silence or intimidate him,” the ACLU said. “He was
undeterred by an appearance before the infamous House Un-American Activities
Committee in 1955, and was subject to surveillance and harassment by the Chicago police
department’s discredited ‘Red Squad’ in the 1960s and 1970s.”
Young attended the 2008 Chicago Democratic Socialists of America
annual dinner, whose theme was “Universal Health Care Now!” The Chicago DSA has
backed Obama’s political career from the beginning.
At this year’s event, one of the honorees was
Les Orear, founder of the Illinois Labor History Society, who told the audience
that he has tried to live by the Marxist saying, “From each according to his
ability, to each according to his need.”
The dinner booklet and the speakers included
several sympathetic references to the late Carl Shier, whose name was spelled
as “Karl Marx Shier” in the booklet, a reference to the fact that he was named
by his parents in honor of Karl Marx and the Soviet revolution.