From the grassroots to poor Americans: Don’t mess with my lawn

In the battle over health care reform one thing has been made clear. A majority of Americans don’t want to pay for a public option that will assure quality health care for those who don’t have a nice lawn, let alone any lawn at all. Liberal leaning Democrats want to assure that we stitch together one of the largest holes in our social safety net for our least fortunate citizens. Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats seem to believe that if you slip through the health care hole it’s because you’re too lazy to get a job with insurance or perhaps because you’ve offended God.

 
An anonymous poster wrote this on one of my town’s local blogs. It pretty much summarizes  and all too common belief (emphasis added):
 
One one end Obama bails out billion dollar corporations and on the other end is the expanded hand outs to those who the moonbats feel were just dealt a bad hand in life. What it really amounts to is buying votes. Guess who will pay for it?
 
Conscience is defined as an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior. Most people have a conscience that leads them to "do unto others as you’d have others do unto you" when it comes to those who are actually in their lives. 
 
A large segment of our population has no social conscience. They are represented by those going to the town hall meetings during the congressional recess who are expressing outrage that their taxes may go to pay for the health care of those who, unlike them, don’t already have health insurance.
 
Where is their inner voice telling them that there’s a rightness and wrongness when it comes to a greater morality than looking out for themselves?
 
Don’t they know that they are one downsizing layoff in their own jobs from being without health insurance themselves?
 
The "no new taxes" mantra, often shouted at rallies by God fearing Christians has a very unchristian sub-text. It is "I won’t pay for programs to help those who I don’t think deserve it".
 

 Clink to enlarge especially to view his one inch fingernails.
 
Last week I sat eating a delicious pizza on the second floor balcony of Pizzeria Uno at Washington’s beautiful taxpayer renovated Union Station. I looked down and watched this man just below me. I watched dozens of people walking past him as if he was invisible. 

 The three part irony of this photo: a newspaper article about tax breaks, a Union Station bench with a brass plaque saying "thank you for not reclining" and the lunch of the man shown above who would benefit from some professional outreach case management.
 
I thought that I could easily offer him the last two slices of my pizza, far more nutricious than what he was eating or give him $5.00, but as I documented with pictures in my previous column, "Washington, District of Contrasts", I’d already seen numerous homeless people around our nation’s capital.
 
I felt guilty even though their plight wasn’t my doing. After all, for my entire life I have voted for candidates that supported progressive social programs.
 
Do many others feel at least a momentary pang of guilt? I’d like to think so.
 
I tried to do my bit with my photo essay last week. I’m following it up with this column.
 
I can only hope some of you will share these columns with friends who might be amenable to rethinking their views not only about assuring health care for all, but making certain that adequate outreach programs are available for people like these American women:

Click to enlarge for full impact.

 
 

71 Responses to "From the grassroots to poor Americans: Don’t mess with my lawn"

  1. Hal Brown  August 7, 2009 at 10:24 am

     The primary propaganda message the special interests that benefit so greatly from the exclusive private heath care system would have you believe is that the proposed government option will take something away from you.

    Follow the money INDEED — it should be a no brainer that the private health care industry where companies spend millions competing with each other doesn’t want another player in the field that may be able to provide equal coverage at less cost.

    Another "should be a no brainer" is that a government program won’t need to make shareholders happy with large profits. How many of you remember when the previously non-profit Blue Cross went public? It was back in 1994 (see article).

    Let’s also not forget the multi-million dollar compensation given to the CEOs of private health insurance companies. Here’s a list. And that’s just the top executives. 

    I assume that a government heath care program will be run by executives whose salaries are in the $200,000 range.

    So facing these facts the propaganda machine wants to convince you that having a government option will cost you more, limit your choices and somehow or other lessen the quality of care you receive.

  2. almandine  August 7, 2009 at 10:47 am

    So did you give him the pizza or a couple of digital photos?

  3. griff  August 7, 2009 at 11:17 am

    You offer a laundry list of assumptions and then, in the last paragraph, they magically morph into facts.

    The People have the right to organize politically, both in support or opposition. But the enormous amount of propaganda, the lies and misinformation from both sides, the collective vilification of any and all opposition, the complete distraction from what this – or any – legislation really says or means, really has me questioning our collective sanity and our collective goodwill.

    I oppose it. It’s not because I’m a Republican, nor do I work for the government or any other prospective beneficiary of the legislation. It’s because I’ve read it. I don’t like it on many levels, and I will exercise my right to speak out against it. I’m motivated by research and knowledge of the subject, not party loyalty or media hysteria.

    And for all it’s worth, I’ll tell you why.

    As a troubleshooter you learn early that you don’t simply make massive, costly changes all at once. Particularly when the customer (us) is footing the bill. You make one minor change and you analyze the results. If that change fails to fix it, you first undo that change and then try something else.

    You also refer to history. You try to find out when things went bad and what, if any, changes were made prior to the failure. You try to ascertain if that change produced or helped to produce the failure. You may want to undo that as well.

    Most times you’ll find that the government, as well meaning as they may be, screwed it up in the first place. We need to look back and analyze these changes, and possibly undo them. But instead, we’re led to believe that the next expansion of government will solve the problem. And when that doesn’t fix it, we need the government to get more involved. And on and on…

    This is not only a massive and costly change, but an extremely detrimental one as well. What I believe we need to do is make minor changes, based on the history of the problem and honest, independent evaluation (an impossible dream in this political climate), not corporate propaganda and lockstep partisanship.

    And if that doesn’t work, we undo the change and try something different, we don’t compound it by ignoring history and failing to analyze the cause of the failure. Making abrupt, wholesale changes doesn’t afford us the opportunity to discern what works and what doesn’t.

    We do none of this. We’re whipped into a frenzy by party and media and rush headlong into whatever they say we need.

    “Let me now…warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party…It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeebles the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one party against another; foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption…A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.” – George Washington in his farewell address, 1796

  4. Concerned Citizen  August 7, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Are the Blue Dogs and Republicans really concerned about a “government take-over” or the million$ flowing into their campaigns from the insurance and hospital industries ? And for the Democrats, how will how recent proposals correct healthcare’s underlying problems – inefficient distribution of services, poor quality control, and a profit driven industry dominated by self interest entrepreneurs and middlemen. The system is awash in money and dysfunctional private insurance that adds billions in overhead yet contributes zero value to actual care – a glaring inefficiency that free market manufacturing operations would immediately weed out. And there are no discussions of how modern efficient non-profit clinic models can be expanded, only how campaign contributors will be protected – profit driven insurers and medical businesses. What IS crystal clear – we can no longer tolerate exclusive business contracts between profit center “providers” (formally doctors and hospitals), grossly inflated pharmaceuticals, an artificially constricted supply of family practitioners, policy agendas written by campaign contributors, and revolving door regulators – and simply frame discussions in terms of “more coverage” and voodoo “socialism”. Otherwise, despite all the hoopla, vastly expanded private insurance and unlimited taxpayer funding, American healthcare will continue to rank 43rd in performance, and No. 1 in cost.

  5. gazelle1929  August 7, 2009 at 11:50 am

    To the term NIMBY we shall now add NOOMBP (not out of MY back pocket.)

    It says something bad about our national psyche that we are not saying, “How can we do this (provide health care for all who need it)?” Instead we are hearing, “How can we stop this from happening?”

    Why have we ceased to be a nation which cares about and for each of our neighbors? When did we become a nation where we can hear prideful boasts that a person who considers himself to be a human being has refused to help another human being in need?

    Someone above said, “You have to recognize that some (homeless, unemployed, or other needy) need more help than you or I could provide and can be dangerous as any unknown trigger could set them off.”

    So do we look at that person and say, “Screw you, Charlie, I’ve got mine and I am not going to part with one thin dime for you?” When problems become too much for individuals or small groups to handle, do not those problems become something which should be addressed at some governmental level? Or is the government going to say to its poorer citizens, “Screw you, Charlie, etc.” Or do these people cease to be problems because we close our eyes and turn away from them in their time of need?

    Above it was said ” . . .when it comes to homelessness. Lots of mentally ill and drug/alcohol addicted folks.”

    That may well be true, but how many foreclosures have occurred in the US since this recession began? Where did the people displaced from their homes go? How many of those who are homeless are NOT mentally ill or addicts? How many of them are single mothers living in their cars with two or three little kids? And on top of that why should we say that the mentally ill and the chemically addicted are not worthy of some assistance?

  6. bryan mcclellan  August 7, 2009 at 11:55 am

    The problem with “should be a no brainer” Hal is that truth comes in a plain brown wrapper and logic does not sell while hyperbole rules the day.

  7. Hal Brown  August 7, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Personally I find it unseemly and self-congratulatory when people tell others about how much they give to charity or where they do volunteer work.

    I’m sorry for blanket statements. There are usually exceptions to all my characterizations. 

    There are many died in the wool Republicans who scream bloody murder about their tax dollars helping the disenfranchised and poor through social programs and then turn around and donate their money and time to do just that on a smaller scale.

    As for the war on poverty, Johnson started it in 1964 as part of his "great society" and Reagan pretty much demolished it in 1981. It was never meant to be a short term solution. You can’t break a cycle of poverty that passes from generation to generation in 17 years. We’ll never know how it would have worked out if the corruption, waste and inefficiency was eliminated and it had 20-30 years to mature.

    Let’s not forget that Head Start, Medicare and Medicaid were also parts of Johnson’s social legacy

     

  8. bogofree  August 7, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Here it is in a nutshell. I have zero problems with supplying a safety net but I have a huge problem with providing a multi generational alternative life style.

    Just how successful has various government programs been? Take a look at those pictures to get your answer.

    How is that War on Poverty thing working out?

    The government can mandate all they want but when the get into management just forget it.

    And now what is the solution? As usual it is to toss money at a problem and try to instill guilt. That is total hogwash and demeans any debate.

    And, Hal, as far as empathy, compassion and on and on last year I contributed 10% of my income to charity. How did you do? How many that are willing to toss good money after bad in the state of Massachusetts opt to paying the higher state tax? Do you, Hal?

    And, Hal, I volunteer for Habitait for Humanity. I provide meals via a local church and I occasionally do duty at a food bank. So when you make a blanket statement regarding people that don’t agree with this latest boondoggle do some freaking research! Our comapssion may go well beyond a camera lense.

  9. bogofree  August 7, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    I put that out there Hal because I am totally pissed off with the attempt by liberals to make their own blanket statements about those who they know zip about. Easy to spend, spend, spend when it is someone else’s dough. Seems like too many of them have alligator arms when it comes to their own wallet.

    As far as self congradulatory that is rare when I make any pronouncement on what I do but in this case it was appropriate and on target. Wonder how many liberals can match up with this moderate on that? That was there since I am fed up to my eyeballs with value judgements made by liberals and conservatives and it this case my ire is directed to my left.

    As far as screaming it goes beyond “Died in the wool Republicans” and that is showing in the health care issue. Blue Dogs are seeing the folly in this just as a good portion of the population is. The system is screwed up and virtually everyone agrees on that. But the government? Yeah…they’ll fix it! IMO what they scream about is management and results.

    Now, the program I have no problem with is the Connector in Massachusetts. It has shown its value in the current depression and has provided insurance for something like 98% of the population. Far from perfect but from humble beginnings.

  10. CheckerboardStrangler  August 7, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Oh for God’s sake people, this isn’t even entirely about homeless folks who need medical care.
    Truly, stop and think very carefully for a moment!
    The overwhelming majority of people getting sick or dying are people who WORK, who have JOBS and who HAVE INSURANCE!

    The problem is, the moment they try to USE their insurance, they get dropped or they get told that their policy won’t cover their treatment, and this is AFTER they’ve PAID!

    Yes, there are numerous poor, destitute and even homeless who would also benefit, but the truth is, in addition to that small number of folks in society there is a HUGE number of people who have done the right thing and are STILL being penalized.
    Many of them had a pretty good station in life prior to getting sick, many had jobs and had homes prior to getting denied, and still more of them are now DEAD or soon to be.

    Focus, maintain focus and perspective on the entire problem, please.
    Our health care system is sick, it’s top heavy, it’s slanted to those of extreme wealth and it is clear cutting the entire middle class, as well as those who have nothing at all.

    In the end the system we now have will become totally unsustainable, and we will be seeing health care corporations asking for a bailout.
    And this will be AFTER the current reform effort FAILS.

    If you don’t see that, you’re part of the problem.

  11. Hal Brown  August 7, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Checkerboard, thanks for adding this. The reason private health care industries exist, and the reason they have become a multi-billion dollar industry, is that they have designed a system to avoid paying for the sickest patients.

    Even if you aren’t very sick you can see example of how they put profits first.

    For example, try getting them to pay for the brand name medication your doctor wants you to take because it has less side effects than a similar generic. As far as the insurance industry is concerned, if the side effects won’t kill you put up with them… and this is just a minor example of ways the insurance companies cut their costs at the patient’s expense.

     

  12. ECT.  August 7, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    EileensHoot

    As a Canuck {Canadian},I feel deeply for USA citizen’s…many of them are relatives of mine.

    A country as beautiful and as rich as USA..should have a decent and proper Health Plan…for ALL its citizens.

    As I read / watch the news…I am disgusted with the Republican Party / and the Blue Dogs for their lack of knowledge, empathy and don’t care attitude towards their fellow man. They are a complete nasty and cold blooded bunch of people. You..the USA citizens have provided those people with the best of wages, pensions and terrific Health Plan. Your taxes provide them very well.

    President Obama has seen this side of life, and knows how it affects those people not covered…and he is fighting for the rights of ALL citizens.

    Sincerely,
    Eileen

  13. bogofree  August 7, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    One issue of importance is the excessive amount of tests to protect from litigation. Just went through this and my insurance (GIC – Uni Care) covers a test that cost several thousands and under most policies I’d have the scaled down one. IMO the test was not that necessary but the primary care wanted to rule out a condition. I.E. cover his arse in case that was really – and it was quite remote – the real problem. Now if the problem did exist the scaled down one may not have found it.

  14. Hal Brown  August 7, 2009 at 5:28 pm

     bogo, it sounds like you have a plan similar to the one members of Congress have…

    Eileen, great to have a Canadian perspective. We have Canadian friends who say the same thing.

    To hear some of the right wingers on talk radio you’d think instead of flying the Maple Leaf your flag has a hammer and sickle, or as some succumb to Godwin’s Law which now seems to rule Rush Limbaugh and some of the protesters, the swastika.

  15. Hal Brown  August 7, 2009 at 6:11 pm

     First, it should be DYED in the wool. 

    I don’t understand your first paragraph at all. Maybe I’m just thick or it’s the glass of merlot I’m drinking. Liberals knowing zip about… huh? The liberals I’m acquainted with know more than zip about lots of kind of people. I never heard the expression alligator arms, which though short, sure can propel them rapidly on land.

    It seems quite socially acceptable for people to reveal how much they contribute to charity. Politicians do it all the time and as you know there is (or was) a wall at the Y with a list of the corporate and individual donors and which donation group they belonged to. 

    I’m not fed up with my own value judgments, in fact I rather enjoy them, but admit that I am fed up with the value judgments of those I disagree with. There, I said it. I know saint that you are you don’t make value judgments….

    Yes, the national system is screwed up and even if this bill has flaws I think they can be remedied later a lot easier and without the damage than has been the case with the Patriot Act. I am glad that Massachusetts has their own health care reform law but I still want to see that public option nationally. I see that as a crucial part of the bill because even with glitches it will show what a program that doesn’t have to make a profit for shareholders can do.

    For regulars wondering why I am tweaking bogofree like this,  I know him. That is why our exchanges have a certain je ne sais quoi to them.

  16. Chick  August 7, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Well, bogofree, I consider myself a moderate, though I have opinions that some would consider conservative, or liberal. I doubt anyone could be simply one or the other. If they are, they would probably be considered extremists.

    That said, I seldom see anyone that is actually “moderate” repeatedly use the term “liberal” when discussing or addressing others, unless they are far to the right.

    Perhaps you aren’t as moderate as you’d like to think?

  17. ECT.  August 7, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    EileensHoot

    Thanks for your kind words Hal,

    I am sure your friends have told you about Canada’s Health Plan. Every citizen is covered for all medical and drug needs…from birth till death. No one is turned away from our Hospitals…and are given the best of care…with no charge.
    And no…we DO NOT have longer wait times for health services than USA citizens have in their health needs in the USA.

    As I listen to some of your USA hate machines like Rush, Hannity, Beck and Dobbs …and some Republicans about Canada’s Health Plan and how rotten it is. I shake my head at their low down ignorance.

    As a former RN who returned to University { after the down turn left many nurses without jobs } for my BA in Social work…I am very on top of health issues…and that is why my heart is heavy for ALL USA citizens in need of a Health Plan.

    Hal, I also live in a small Border town..Sault Ste. Marie Ontario. Much of my nursing, SW was done across our Bridge in Sault Michigan. I also spend a great number of hours monthly across the Bridge in Volunteer work. My USA friends also volunteer in my city. We work in harmony and respect each other and the need of all clients regardless of what side of the Bridge they live on.

    Sincerely,
    Eileen

  18. anoyaliberal  August 7, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    While socialist care and socialism and communism and all the other isms have failed miserably world wide, that is not what all this is really about ,have you in your lifetimes known of a politician who actually did what they touted with the money they took from you???It is all about widening the gap between us the middle and lower class working stiffs and them the greedy rich bankers and the politicians they own.as for health care it will go down the tubes under govt control and they will never say they have enough money!!!I will shout it as long as I can that there is no real 2 party system.That is just a sham to keep us from watching what they are really doing.Diversions are wonderful things when cooked properly!

  19. John1172002  August 8, 2009 at 7:15 am

    I really hate to say this, because in some ways he was a nut job, but Periot said it best when he said “that whistling sound you hear are American jobs going out the window” (Paraphrasing a little bit here)
    When companies are allowed to outsource most of their jobs, the only thing you will see is that their executives get fatter bank accounts in the Cayman islands, or wherever Uncle Sam can’t tax it. Ten miillion dollar bonuses! What was that factoid? The President of Ford gets ten million per year, before outrageous bonuses, while the President of Toyota gets about one million? “But we have to pay them these outrageous salaries to keep the best people” BS!! Meanwhile, the lower classes, who could have made a decent living from those jobs, and afforded health care? They are simply ground deeper into the dust of what has become an “I’ve got mine, to Hell with you” America. It’s pathetic.

    John1172002

  20. griff  August 8, 2009 at 8:46 am

    It says something bad about our national psyche that we are not saying, “How can we do this (provide health care for all who need it)?” Instead we are hearing, “How can we stop this from happening?”

    News Flash!!! The Democrats have offered their solution as to how to do this. It is not a good one and needs top be shot down.

    Look at all the comments about this. There’s no discussion here, just personal attacks and blind partisan division.

    News Flash!!! The Republicans are being shouted down in town halls too. You just don’t see it on TV because the perception of partisan division needs to be maintained in order to herd the sheep and actually stifle any real debate.

    Case in point. Anything constructive being discussed here? You’re just as guilty as the other side.

  21. bogofree  August 8, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    I’d suggest Chick that you examine my post with greater care…such as the following excerpt. Reapeatedly used the term liberal since it was applicable in this thread. I am an equal opportunity basher!

    “That was there since I am fed up to my eyeballs with value judgements made by liberals and conservatives and it this case my ire is directed to my left.”

  22. ekaton  August 8, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    I’ll tell you what’s wrong with “health care” in America. $324 to have ONE god-damned tooth pulled, that’s what. Extrapolate from there. Fucking greed heads, which is by now just about everyone in the USA.

    Why does it cost $90/hour to get my car fixed when the mechanic doing the actual labor gets $12.50? GREED.

    $100 a month for cable TV? Screw that. Greedy bastards. How much to they pay their employees? Maybe a buck an hour over minimum wage.

    $4/pound for fucking green peppers? How much did the farmer get for those peppers? It ain’t the farmers, but there are some pretty greedy bastards in the marketing chain. The damn farmer didn’t even get a
    buck a pound.

    GREED GREED GREED and FRAUD FRAUD FRAUD.

    Welcome to AmeriKa, where the powerless get fucked and the powerful become more so every day.

    I have the solution. It involves piano wire and lamp posts. Eliminate ALL salaries over $500K a year and I’m being GENEROUS here, and the GREED HEAD PROBLEM is a long way toward solution. Eliminate HOW? VOLUNTARILY! Or there is the piano wire and lamp post option. See that dentist swinging from the lamp post? That’s the last $324 extraction THAT bastard will ever perform.

    Can’t afford to establish that EVIL SOCIALIST (OOOOOHHHH he said SOCIALIST — OOOOOOHHHHHH) health care for all at taxpayer expense program? BULLSHIT BULLSHIT BULLSHIT! What you can’t afford is that god-damned TRILLION DOLLAR A YEAR MILITARY and all those god-damned needless and useless wars.

    For those of you who fear the very word “SOCIALIST” you can just go fuck yourselves.

    A SOCIALIST MEDICARE FOR ALL IS WHAT WE NEED. Pay for it by shutting down Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. YES SOCIALIST SOCIALIST SOCIALIST. PUT IT IN YOUR PIPE AND SMOKE IT.

    Are we all in this thing called LIFE together or is it to be every man for himself. You every man for himself folks? Don’t ever darken MY DOOR looking for a handout after you just lost your fucking useless slave wage job. You are a RUGGED INDIVIDUAL. NO GOD-DAMNED HANDOUTS FOR YOU, BY GOD. YOU MAKE IT ON YOUR OWN. Get the hell away from my door you rugged individual. I have no time for you. You are a survivalist, taking and needing nothing from anyone. WELL. NOW SURVIVE, ASSHOLE. YOU DON’T NEED NO FUCKING GOVERNMENT HANDOUTS. GO DIVE IN A DUMPSTER FOR ALL I GIVE A SHIT.

    Kent Shaw
    Kent Shaw

  23. ekaton  August 8, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    “Easy to spend, spend, spend when it is someone else’s dough.”

    I agree wholeheartedly. Hence, we have Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Vietnam, Korea, and on and on. Oh, I’m sorry. Were we talking about health care insurance for all? Yes. Its going to be hard to find the money and the skilled management. Maybe we could assign the project to the military. They seem to be just SO effective.

    Kent Shaw

  24. John1172002  August 8, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    It’s a very sad fact that, due to the pertinent points made by all those above, the lower middle class has been ground down so much that people who have a BA degree are having to say “Would you like fries with that?” As a song from WW1 said, ” The rich get richer, and the poor get children.”
    As I said before, the class differences are so wide that it is ridiculous.

    John1172002

  25. Hal Brown  August 8, 2009 at 5:35 pm

     Kent,

    In case you missed my link to how much the CEOs of the major health insurance companies made last year, here’s another list (link).

    Okay, I’m not sure you got all you (justified) anger out, so I thought I’d share this… so with finger poised over Cap Lock…. don’t you think the CEO of Aetna deserves his $24 million?

    I mean, Kent, his company had over $31 billion in revenues last year (as per the Aetna website here). A paltry $24 million is a drop in the bucket to these people.

  26. ekaton  August 9, 2009 at 12:06 am

    I know, I know. And I apologize for the rude language. It just makes me so angry, all of it. It does not have to be the way it is, but for all the greed and lust for power in all quarters. I don’t have any answers. I’m all for a government-run Medicare For All, but at the same time I know the government would just botch it, and corruption would run rampant. Its all spinning out of control.

    Kent Shaw

  27. Carl Nemo  August 9, 2009 at 12:58 am

    Hi Griff,

    I was post #14 to this string and I simply suggested another block to be added to an employee’s pay stub; ie., a “Medical Care Tax” for the greater unwashed masses. No attacks, no partisan opposition, just a pragmatic suggestion to solve a distasteful situation. Those that don’t have care of any kind can go to clinics and hospitals no differently than they do now to buy food with stamps/cards etc. at both state and federal expense.

    Yep, it’s another tax, but look at this as simply a stalling action that provides protection from the potentially rioting masses that cannot enjoy medical care in this country and have had a bellyful of being deprived of such care.

    It won’t be a flagship plan, but at least they can shuffle into an urgency, emergency clinic/hospital and also know they’ll have some measure of coverage for extended medical care by flipping their government sanctioned card to the clinicians.

    I’m more than willing to pay for such systemic protection rather than have everything overturned by blood in the streets which is where this nation is headed if this fundamental need for basic medical care isn’t met.

    If this isn’t addressed then the least of those that do enjoy such care will find that in the end they shall lose too, quite possibly with their lives!

    Yep, it’s blatant socialism, but it seems that even the strongest ideologue in these times cannot hold back the tide of change when it comes to an ever-burgeoning world and domestic population.

    The following link provides food for both thought and concern for us all as the world and this nation moves towards a Malthusian event horizon…

    http://www.netlingo.com/more/poptick.html

    Carl Nemo **==

  28. griff  August 9, 2009 at 1:03 am

    That’s it Hal, chastise someone else for actually doing charity work or donating when you couldn’t part with a slice of pizza. But of course, you did feel that pang of guilt, so job well done!

  29. griff  August 9, 2009 at 1:35 am

    Yeah I read that. The above comment was directed at Gazelle, though.

    I would have to disagree with the tax though, and here’s why…

    Our economy is sinking. The dwindling working class simply cannot pay more taxes at this point. The point I tried to make earlier is that we have other priorities in righting the economy.

    We need to get people working again. Without fixing the economy, everyone loses. Unfortunately the poor are hit first, and they are hit the hardest.

    A prosperous people are a generous people. We were before, and we could be again. But not when everyone’s worried about themselves. That may seem selfish or mean to our friends on the left, but that’s simply the way it is.

    I certainly won’t make any apologies for taking care of my family first, and I certainly won’t agree to more taxes to help the poor, particularly when the government has proven themselves incapable of doing it with the taxes we already pay.

    Right now all of our tax revenues isn’t enough to pay the interest on our national debt, much less put any kind of dent in our deficit. Couple that with a proposed budget that is more than twice our tax receipts. Where are we going with that?

    That debt comes mainly from two places – we spend more than we make, and we pay interest on every dollar the Federal Reserve prints. Of course, we also have a trade deficit and we’ve been borrowing from any and everybody.

    One way to help the poor – and everyone else too – would be to take back control of our currency and end inflationary monetary policy. The rich don’t care if the price of bread rises ten or twenty cents due to inflation, but it hurts the poor the most.

    I saw a bumper sticker the other day that pretty succinctly sums it up…Socialism: A great idea until you run out of other people’s money.

    And then there’s this one by George Bernard Shaw…”A socialist is somebody who doesn’t have anything, and is ready to divide it up equally among everybody.”

  30. Carl Nemo  August 9, 2009 at 1:47 am

    Thanks Griff for the reply and I agree with you more than 100%.

    Our entire paradigm is going to fail no differently than empires and governments long since swallowed by the sands of time.

    This nation is going to fail, not if, but simply when, and I feel we’re now in the sweep hand mode to midnight.

    We might as well pitch whatever bread; ie.,$$ to mend the tissues and abate the pain of our fellow men, women and children regardless of the cost because in the end…”we are all dead”…our collective lives nothing but a fireflies wink in the cosmic night!

    Btw, I just wanted to add, that I “always” enjoy your comments supported by a keen intellect. : )

    Carl Nemo **==

  31. griff  August 9, 2009 at 2:46 am

    After a while I thought of a few more points to add to my previous response, but it seems you’re kickin’ around tonight and had already replied.

    I just got back from KRock-A-Thon 14, an all-day concert, and should be tired. Some interesting commentary between songs by some of the bands. Musicians seem to have a pretty good grasp on who’s robbing who.

    I can definitley see your point. Our debt is so astronomical, what’s another trillion or two amongst friends? I wonder quite often why I bother at all. It’s getting pretty crazy, although I knew it would.

    What we should be doing right now is pushing through HR 1207 and its companion bill in the senate, S.604. Both are being blocked aggressively and HR 1207 needs only a few more cosponsors for two thirds of the house (last I checked there were over 90 Democrat cosponsors – bipartisanship, anyone?) and will force a vote.

    In my opinion, all else is irrevelant if our currency is worthless, particularly when we carry such a high trade deficit. The integrity of the currency must be restored and maintained in the light of day.

    But instead, we’re at each other’s throats over a trillion dollar boondoggle in healthcare “reform”. Not even getting into the actual bill, where will this money come from?

    We’re staring at a two trillion dollar deficit for this year alone and an overall deficit of almost twelve trillion dollars. Our other as-yet-to-be-funded liabilities total over sixty trillion.

    If I remember correctly, our tax revenues (private and corporate) total around 1.5 trillion, and we lost another 371 thousand taxpayers last month.

    We’ll have to borrow or print it. Either way the value of the dollar will slide, and prices will rise.

    Thanks for the nice words. Don’t get that often – ha!

  32. Hal Brown  August 9, 2009 at 9:35 am

     I wasn’t chastising bogofree for DOING charity work, I just said I thought it unseemly to tout one’s own charity contributions or work. 

    I think whether or not I gave pizza or money to this particular person is adding a red herring to the debate.

    Healthy guilt, whether individual or collective, (as opposed to pathological guilt) by the way, should be felt by more people. I wouldn’t be sarcastic about it.

    Griff,  you and a few others add a lot to the comments section of my columns and obviously put a great deal of thought into the formulation of cogent arguments.

    When they throw in a ad hominem bits of sarcasm directed towards me my first inclination is to ignore the comments. 

  33. Hal Brown  August 9, 2009 at 10:05 am

     Kent,

    No need to apologize for expressing yourself as you did. 

    Already some private insurers, hospitals, clinics, doctors and individuals are defrauding Medicare, often incurring very large fines for doing so.

    Here are a few examples:

    July 29, 2009 – Federal authorities arrested 30 people, including doctors, and were seeking others in a major Medicare fraud (arrest) Wednesday in New York, Louisiana, Boston and Houston, targeting scams such as "arthritis kits" — expensive braces that many patients never used. CBS News story

    Here’s another one, 53 indicted, in June.

    Here’s an article about Wellcare being fined $10 million for Medicare fraud.

    Any government health program needs to have oversight to deal with corruption.

    From all I have heard Canada has a health care system that is well run.

     

     

  34. bogofree  August 9, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Will we have an American version of NICE?

  35. griff  August 9, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    You mean like the kind of reply you made to my first comment? Sometimes sarcasm is all you got left in the tank, particularly when addressing an issue that has many causes and effects, but is construed as a simple matter of people not caring or being selfish.

  36. gazelle1929  August 9, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Interesting. I suggested that the question should be how we can work health care for all and your response was that it “needs to be shot down.”

    How does that help answer the question of how to do it? By saying, No, we should not do it at all. Certainly that’s an approach to the problem, but it’d be nice to see some reasoned argument and facts behind it.

    As to personal attacks and blind partisan division, I didn’t see anything as snide as the nasty little dig:

    NEWS FLASH.

    I asked a series of questions, and you say there’s “no discussion here.” At Mr. Thompson’s direct request to me, I am trying to remain civil, but I will point out that you are being, in my opinion, obstructionist to any form of discussion. That’s your prerogative, of course, but to attempt to so categorize my series of questions on the health care debate is, at best, dissembling.

    If you do not like my posts you are free to ignore them, just as you are free to criticize them, though it would be nice if you tried to be a bit less judgmental. Others, though, may not feel that way and to castigate them for entering into a dialog is not helpful in the least.

  37. Hal Brown  August 9, 2009 at 4:08 pm

     Horrors! End up like the Brits?

    Here’s an interesting piece from 2007: World’s best medical care?

    Some excerpted points from the highly regarded Commonwealth Fund:

    The United States is last or next-to-last compared with five other nations — Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom — on most measures of performance.

    On insurance coverage all other major industrialized nations provide universal health coverage, and most of them have comprehensive benefit packages with no cost-sharing by the patients.

    The real barriers here are the costs facing low-income people without insurance or with skimpy coverage. But even Americans with above-average incomes find it more difficult than their counterparts abroad to get care on nights or weekends without going to an emergency room

    On fairness, the United States ranks dead last on almost all measures of equity because we have the greatest disparity in the quality of care given to richer and poorer citizens. Americans with below-average incomes are much less likely than their counterparts in other industrialized nations to see a doctor when sick, to fill prescriptions or to get needed tests and follow-up care.

  38. griff  August 9, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    Perhaps the way to work this out is to first shoot down this proposal, take a deep breath, and start anew. And therein lies the gist of the problem. We either get behind what’s on the table now or do without? That’s not the way it should work.

    Either you’re with us or against us? Sounds all too familiar, and just as damaging.

    This problem has come to be over many decades, and won’t be solved with the magical stroke of a pen. But you must admit that most of the comments here are more about attacking the opponents than any dialogue about what’s best for the common man.

    So in my mind, the first order of business is stopping this legislation, because it is no good. If you deem that to be obstructionsist, then I’ll stand guilty as charged. But by no means have I been obstructing any rational dialogue on the subject, I’m just waiting for someone to offer anything but partisan pablum as an argument for it.

    Although we don’t see eye to eye on almost everything, I welcome your input because at least you offer coherent arguments, for the most part. Of course, like I have been guilty of myself, we allow ourselves to be dragged down in the heat of battle.

    Yes, I guess I would appear to be judgemental at times, but I don’t mean to judge the individual as much as the system that guides us. We need to break through the left-right control scheme and start thinking and acting independently, not just reacting to what the “other” side does.

  39. bogofree  August 9, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    Interesting article from the highly regarded Wall Street Journal. Will we have an American version of NICE?

    I have stated before that what I fear is not having standards raised to my current level of coverage but mine lowered based on an actuary table.

    What are the problems with a Mass Connector program?

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124692973435303415.html

  40. Hoosier_CowBoy  August 9, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    The socialist, welfare state doesn’t work. It’s been proven.

    Nonsense, The socialist welfare state has existed in these United States since Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown. It has worked well with the exception of providing cover for the poor b……s that have been paying for it.

    The welfare state for the Rich works very well. Ask them.

    It time to get the people that are paying for it on board as well.

    I’m tired of paying for the welfare of the Rich, and hearing them bitch about how bad it is.

    If its so bad, Rich B……..s give it up.

    Give up your farm subsidies, tax breaks, soft jobs and fat pensions rich people, and give me back my money. Otherwise shut the f..k up.

  41. ekaton  August 9, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    “The United States is last or next-to-last compared with five other nations — Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom — on most measures of performance.”
    .
    .
    .
    “On fairness, the United States ranks dead last on almost all measures of equity because we have the greatest disparity in the quality of care given to richer and poorer citizens.”

    Well, that is all true. However, and this is a BIG ONE, those five nations mentioned have SOCIALIST health care programs. Oh, PLEASE spare us from that dreaded SOCIALISM.

    OHHH NOOOO, Mr. Bill, not SOCIALISM!! OHHH NOOOOO…

    Kent Shaw

  42. Hal Brown  August 10, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Bogofree and Hoosier Cowboy,

    your posts are related. The WSJ article bogo posted a link to describes the way NICE in England rations health care to the detriment of those who want and need certain expensive treatment of value to a small percentage of people or to extend their lives for a relatively brief period of time.

    What isn’t emphasized by the WSJ, whose readers one would presume all have excellent private insurance, is that the tradeoff in the UK is that without a bottomless pit of money they are able to provide almost excellent health care for everybody, rich and poor.

    Cowboy casts a jaundiced eye on how America’s rich already benefit from the largess of government welfare. The poor bas—rds who diligently pay their taxes subsidize the corporate fatcats whose greed led to the current financial crisis. 

    Meanwhile the really really poor pack crowded emergency rooms for routine health care. I’ve seen it a few times in the last years following the ambulance to a local ER (Morton Hospital) for life threatening emergencies with my inlaws.

    Sitting in the waiting rooms were people with various bleeding wounds and broken limbs amongst those with hacking coughs or rushing to the bathroom likely with g-i infections that should have been treated by a family doctor.

  43. bogofree  August 10, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Do you want to be one of that small percentage – if it really is small. I didn’t quite view it the same way. Again, my entire point is and will continue to be will we have to have a NICE? No one in lock-step support of anything but change has managed to give an answer.

    Since everyone has “stories” I will relate – again – my experience with a change in health care. Many years ago we switched from a great plan to a cheaper one that was clinic based. Our provider network shrunk and we ended up being locked into who they choose as our PC doctor. Good was our usual pediatrician and specialist. Our nearest “clinic” was in Braintree and that was 30 miles. They also determined what needed to be done. I had an Achilles issue and they allowed me one second opinion and they choose the doctor. Needless to say it was a slam dunk for them. Neither ortho guy had much of a resume. My own out of pocket expenses allowed me to get five other opinions tall concluded I needed the surgery. I had to sue and they relented at that point. Next open enrollment we got back to our old plan. They called the shots and most people would just cave in. I did not. The paper pushers were the ones making the decisions.

    Another story. My son needed stitches and after waiting five hours at our “clinic” we left and went to one of those crowded ER rooms and I paid out of pocket after a short wait.

    You want to risk my life? That is how I view it. You folks can put all the sob stories aside as selfish me is concerned only about myself. I will NEVER risk being placed in the situations I described above. If the government wishes to get a program in place that will provide services similar to what I get go for it but don’t butcher mine for a one size fits all.

  44. Hal Brown  August 10, 2009 at 12:24 pm

     Bogo, funny that you counter my so-called sob stories with two of your own. 

    I belonged to a large clinic based HMO for almost 20 years where we had a limited choice of primary docs and specialists. We always got in that day for urgent care. We had a very short waiting time for lesser problems.

    The times an outside of the HMO specialist was needed there were no problems getting a referral to the top docs in the area. 

    My primary once didn’t agree with one of the HMO surgeons who thought I needed hernia surgery and he sent me to a top surgeon at the MSU med school who said I didn’t even have a hernia.

    My aunt in Hawaii, still alive and kicking at 88, has always been covered under the well known and earliest HMO’s, Kaiser Permanente. She relates similar stories.

    The fact is that there are sob stories but for a middle class person forced into a less than great clinic based HMO to compare his  experiences with those who have to rely on hospital emergency rooms for all health care isn’t really fair.

    I don’t want to risk YOUR life. Not to be disrespectful, but I think that’s hyperbole. In a life threatening situation no matter who you are you will get good service at an emergency room – though around here you may find you need to be transported from the local ER ASAP to a trauma center in Boston.

    We need equal excellent health care for everyone without discrimination. That should be the goal. 

    Republicans not debunking talk of panels deciding who to euthanize is irresponsible. Instead they should be talking about improving the Democrat’s bill instead of trying to destroy it.

  45. griff  August 6, 2009 at 11:28 am

    After all, for my entire life I have voted for candidates that supported progressive social programs.

    That says it all, Hal. A lifetime of support and still no end to the human misery. In fact, it’s getting worse by the day. But I guess that won’t stop you from believing the lie and continuing to support “progress”.

    The socialist, welfare state doesn’t work. It’s been proven.

    While there will always be those in society that need assistance through no fault of their own, you simply can’t deny that our government is directly responsible for the deterioration of our economy and our society.

    When we enjoyed unparallelled prosperity we were also widely regarded for our generosity in taking care of the needy.

    In the late 1800’s, Alexis de Tocqueville had this to say of Americans…”Wherever, at the head of some new undertaking, you see the government in France, or a man of rank in England, in the United States you will be sure to find an association.”

    “…the extreme skill with which the inhabitants of the United States succeed in proposing a common object to the exertions of a great many men, and in getting them voluntarily to pursue it.”

    I’m sorry, but we aren’t seeing anything remotely resembling a return on our tax dollar investment as it is, but that doesn’t stop you from insisting that the dwindling number of gainfully employed shovel more of our dollars into the gaping maw of this maniacal, self-serving monstrosity we call our government.

    While there may be some that fit your description, most I think would be more than happy to provide some relief to others if the economic conditions in this country were improving, and self-preservation wasn’t the foremost consideration.

  46. gazelle1929  August 6, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    “The socialist, welfare state doesn’t work. It’s been proven.”

    By whom?

  47. gazelle1929  August 6, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    “The socialist, welfare state doesn’t work. It’s been proven.”

    By whom?

  48. woody188  August 6, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    FYI, long finger nails like on that man in the blue T-shirt are a sign of cocaine and heroin abuse. They use the long nails to snort the drugs instead of a straw or rolled paper.

    Long nails on men is also a sign of not doing any work. (Note I’m not saying this is by choice.) My nails always break before getting that long if I don’t keep them trimmed up myself.

    Folks are stretched thin. If you make minimum wage in the United States you cannot support your family. I know of more than a few that took low paid jobs just to have some type of insurance. Now we are looking at taking away all the income from those jobs via taxes so they are left with just insurance. How is that fair to be working only for insurance?

    Do the math: $7.25/hr @ 40 hrs/wk = $290.00 – 75.40 Taxes = $214.60 – Insurance ($30) and 401(k) contribution ($20) = $164.60. Can you make rent, utilities, and feed and clothe your family on $164.60 a week?

    I work payroll and see this every week. Blue collar workers are absolutely fed up with all the bullsh*t. They said they wanted to tax those health benefits, which for family insurance run near $1,000 per month. Could a minimum wage earner afford even 1% tax on their health benefits?

    Might as well quit and lay around all day and take the “free” insurance and not pay for day care. Probably would come out ahead. Honestly I think it’s what they want. An idled work force to bolster the ranks of the military and service corps.

    *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
    R U Main Core?

  49. bryan mcclellan  August 6, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    The greatest social safety net would be meaningful employment. Scarcely one word has been said about balancing the trade deficit and bringing back to our shores the manufacturing base.

    No Sirree, it’s all about appeasing the Chinese and other trade partners with the reckless abandoning of logical economic trade policy.

    It sickens me that the USA label has become near extinct and that the cheap often dangerous products/food stuffs continue to flood our markets.

    Textiles is just one example, take a look at the tag on your skivvies for point of origin, then tell me we can’t compete in this area if the playing field is level.
    The wholesale sellout of our tooling is another black hole that has swallowed our prosperity.

    If people aren’t working, where but from printing presses will come the revenue to feed the monster that this Government has become.

    Why should those of limited and meager means have to give til it hurts while Wall street gets fatter?

    Most want a hand up, not a handout and would it not be better that the man in the picture had the opportunity to make the pizza oven for a decent wage rather than make pizzas for minimum wage?

    The health care debate is useless to the common man at this point, there is little form and even less function in it’s makeup and I see it as only one more way to facilitate the groping and turning inside out of our already empty pockets.

    Good point about the so called godly pointing out the godlessness of poverty Hal. Hypocrites all.

  50. Hal Brown  August 6, 2009 at 4:26 pm

     While not the most exhaustively researched and verified article on the subject of the welfare state, Wikipedia (LINK) does present some hard to refute statistics – unless of course you rely on anecdotes that support your prejudices as many on the right do.

    I don’t bother anymore to try to educate people about the various forms of socialism. That’s what Google is for. People that throw that term around when they apply it to the Democrat’s agenda either are just using a scare tactic or are dismally uninformed about socio-economics.

  51. griff  August 6, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    I see. Now I’m prejudiced and stupid. So much for intelligent discourse…

  52. gazelle1929  August 7, 2009 at 9:20 am

    How silly of you, Hal Brown. Trying to argue against the great passive voice. Not to mention challenging mindsets. And on top of that, trying to present statistics.

    On a less serious note, Uncle Tate’s maxim: When you hear the words “it has been said” or “it’s been proven” you are about to be hornswoggled.

    My uncle Tate was a great man who made one mistake; he invested his life’s savings in a compass he designed, but the darned thing never worked right. So, “it has been said,” he who has a Tate’s is lost.

  53. griff  August 7, 2009 at 10:43 am

    I saw no argument there. He basically called me stupid and prejudiced, and offered up one Wikipedia page even he admitted may not be accurate, as is usually the case on that site.

    As for the socialist/welfare state, we’ve been proving it now for a hundred years right here, year after year and election cycle after election cycle. I don’t need Wikipedia propaganda to see what’s right in front of me.

    Interesting how the further we drift from our republican roots towards total state control, the worse off we become, and the better off our leaders and their corporate sponsors become. The price of “progress” I presume, because if this is what you people consider progress, I don’t really think I’m the stupid one in this exchange.

  54. John1172002  August 8, 2009 at 7:39 am

    And I suppose England, Canada, Australia, and EVERY OTHER Western style state is a Socialist and welfare state? Boo! The Republican bogyman just reared his ugly head! Isn’t Social Security Socialism? And we went Communist because of that, and other Socialist programs, like Meals on Wheels, didn’t we? More scare tactics. BS!

    John1172002

  55. griff  August 8, 2009 at 8:24 am

    Yeah right…The Michael Moore argument. And you can see where Social Security is going too. Thanks for making my point.

  56. elfish  August 10, 2009 at 5:18 am

    Your article in Wikipeda that is supposed to prove that the welfare system doesn’t work, doesn’t prove anything of the sort. If anything it only muddies the water. For example here is one quote from it:

    “Empirical evidence suggests that taxes and
    transfers considerably reduce poverty in most
    countries, whose welfare states commonly
    constitute at least a fifth of GDP.

    “Considerably reducing the poverty rate” is not what I’d call “not working.”

    The article goes on to says that Denmark and Norway, (two welfare states), have a lower unemployment than the United States. It also says that Sweden and Finland have higher GDP growth rates than the US even though they have welfare states.

    The article also points out that US’s standing in world has dropped precipitously since 2000. This means that many of the supposed virtues created by getting rid of the social safety net in the United States were supported by inflated “funny money” produced by the “Dot Com Bubble” and the “Real Estate Bubble.” It is easy to claim that we don’t need a social safety net when the economy is riding one bubble after another and all the economic growth is really just speculators conning gullible people into buying stock and houses so the speculators can get rich. I never saw homeless people in Denver until 1980 when we began to cut the social safety net and deregulate finance.

  57. peagcu  August 6, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    I am so sure my ex-boss is against this. I helped subsidize his health care for close to ten years on our health insurance plan. Sure he paid some money for it, but he used many times more than he paid in, and I used very little of what I paid in. Of course I didn’t show up to meetings decrying the socialist nature of my health care plan. I knew that it was and accepted it as that.

  58. bogofree  August 6, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    Hal, I saw that comment on my blog and agree with it. I don’t buy into the emotional blackmail aspect of social legislation. Tossing out the crying towel or hinting at being a mean spirited individual for not supporting endless programs that represent nothing more than income distribution doesn’t wash with me. This latest program – health care – will be a classic. Here is exactly what will happen. The “disadvantaged” will not be raised to my level of care but I will be lowered to theirs. People are fed up since they have not seen results for decades.

    Get some jobs in this country. That will help more than having the haves assuming more and more of the burden for the have nots.

  59. Carl Nemo  August 6, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    The root cause of our problem is simply a burgeoning population with ever more demands being met by the remaining few that still have gainful employment.

    National destruction is at hand and nothing, I mean nothing will stop the collapse of both our national and worldwide paradigm of cradle to the grave socialism that’s being thrust upon the citizens of planet earth.

    Our modern social safety net allows the haves to enjoy minimal contact with the have nots and their never-ending social and medical problems.

    It’s just the way it is folks!

    We have a choice at this juncture in our nation’s history. Do we dump the safety net and resort to social Darwinism; ie., survival of the fittest as a function of their ability to earn a living and pay their way or be willing to chip in our share of a tax (protection money) to prevent this ugliness from shloshing over upon our shoes…?!

    I’m with Griff concerning the systemic failure, but the choice at this point is either total societal mayhem and subsequent failure if we don’t continue as we do concerning ever-diminishing programs in terms of efficiency or to simply buck up and start paying a special tax to help the needs of indigents in our “Great (now failed) Society”.

    Eventually it will succumb, but at this point in history I’m for simply paying “protection” money in the form a tax to create medical insurance for those that don’t have such coverage etc.

    So we have Federal taxes, State Taxes, SS taxes, City taxes and possibly a newly instituted national “Medical Care Tax” to cover those that don’t have access to such. Anyone can enjoy this coverage, if it’s urgency care, emergency care or extended medical care…period! Obviously such a plan would not be able to provide the uber deluxe care that might be afforded under a flagship plan provide through companies or privately acquired insurance, but it would at least something for the unwashed masses that have zero coverage at this time.

    Simply and idea… : )

    Carl Nemo **==

  60. Hal Brown  August 6, 2009 at 8:39 pm

     If anyone feels emotionally blackmailed by any of what I have presented in words and pictures I suggest they take a long, candid look into their own soul.

    Forget the crying towel. There should be tears felt in their fulness as they flow from those who are fortunate enough to be a "have", and who are callous enough to wrap themselves in the Republican lies about health care reform.  Those who are railing against health care reform not only have a job but also have their mental and physical health and supportive friends and loving families.

    Lacking empathy for the disadvantaged is not a character flaw nor does it mean one is mean spirited. It simply is convenient. Empathy doesn’t always come naturally. It sometimes takes work. 

    If you are concerned that your level of care will be lowered because other people have their level of care raised, while I don’t believe that will happen, if it does I say that is the price the more fortunate must pay to have a moral society.

    The only way to assure that everyone has the same health care is through legislation. 

    Your comment brings to mind this quote from  The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau

     Enfin je me rappelai le pis-aller d’une grande princesse à qui l’on disait que les paysans n’avaient pas de pain, et qui répondit : Qu’ils mangent de la brioche. J’achetai de la brioche.

     

    ("Finally I recalled the worst-recourse of a great princess to whom one said that the peasants had no bread, and who responded: "Let them eat brioche…" )

     

    Or as Keith Olbermann said tonight describing some of the protesters at health care meetings  "they are saying I’ve got mine, so screw you". 

     

  61. woody188  August 7, 2009 at 1:38 am

    LOL @ emotionally blackmailed. I can look homeless folks in the eye and tell them no and get lost. Have had to fight a couple of homeless people that thought mugging was a good career move. You never know just what you are dealing with when it comes to homelessness. Lots of mentally ill and drug/alcohol addicted folks. I don’t hold it against them, but I don’t really want them around or speaking to my 3 year old and 1 year old.

    I’m not without compassion. I have helped people in need. You have to recognize that some need more help than you or I could provide and can be dangerous as any unknown trigger could set them off.

    But this did surprise me: U.S. food stamp list tops 34 million for first time

    Only 11 million difference between those on food stamps and those without insurance. This can’t bode well for the USA.

  62. hologram5  August 6, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    You know what, I work 40 hours a week, live in Seattle, my wife works part time and we still cannot afford insurance due to the cost of living. Everyone needs to remember, YOU are ALL one downsize away from being where all these homeless people are. Just one.

    To Boldly Go…
    Anywhere there is sanity…

  63. ekaton  August 8, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    You are absolutely correct. However, it warms one’s heart to know that all of these rugged individualists will certainly refuse any kind of government SOCIALIST PROGRAM assistance, for they are rugged individuals, they support themselves and their families, and live by the tenets of every man for himself and none of that evil “SOCIALISM” allowed. Unemployment benefits? SOCIALISM!! Surely they will refuse to participate. No self respecting conservative, no self respecting individual who would tell a homeless 60 year old woman to “get lost” would EVER turn around and accept a SOCIALIST HANDOUT. They would allow their CHILDREN to STARVE TO DEATH first. More power to them. Let them LIVE their armchair philosophies out in the streets with the REST of the LOSERS. Right? That’s what they call the homeless, the uninsured, the indigent. LOSERS. LOSERS. LOSERS. There but for the grace of their supernatural being in the sky go they.

    Kent Shaw

  64. SimonSC  August 7, 2009 at 2:01 am

    Given that the U.S. pays ~5% of GDP more into its health care system than other countries (and gets worse outcomes), any comprehensive public plan means that the people who are paid that ~5% of GDP are out of a job.

    To protect that money you can afford to buy a lot of (misleading) advertising, maybe even a few politicians.

    Follow the money…

  65. SimonSC  August 7, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    Actually, cut administrative costs to Canadian levels (31% to 16%) and that will free up money to cover the 15% of people who are un-insured, with coverage at present standard, *and* have a bit of money left over to improve the system.

    Wow… problem solved… well, unless you’re now an unemployed health care administrator… but at least they will have coverage while unemployed. :)

  66. griff  August 7, 2009 at 11:16 am

    Don’t worry, that gap will close soon enough. Then maybe they’ll consider unemployment to be a crisis of equal import.

  67. oceanika  August 7, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Food stamps offer best stimulus – study

    In findings echoed by other economists and studies, he said the study shows the fastest way to infuse money into the economy is through expanding the food-stamp program. For every dollar spent on that program $1.73 is generated throughout the economy, he said. – economist Mark Zandi

    http://money.cnn.com/2008/01/29/news/economy/stimulus_analysis/index.htm

    Boost in Food-Stamp Funding Percolates Through Economy

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture calculates that for every $5 of food-stamp spending, there is $9.20 of total economic activity, as grocers and farmers pay their employees and suppliers, who in turn shop and pay their bills.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124691958931402479.html

  68. bogofree  August 10, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Of course it is a sob story, Hal, and that was the 100% intent and I even said I would do it since everyone around here has “friends” in other countries or “knows” someone who faced a situation or has a “personal” experience. I’m just joining the parade.

    Well here is the big question that none have been willing or able to answer. Will we have an American version of NICE? If so, screw it.

    Risk my life? That is not hyperbole, Hal, it is a fact. Think I want to have some petty functionary making a decision on my care? I have already experienced that and it put my health in danger to the point I had to sue. Has nothing to do with emergency care, Hal, and if you read carefully what I wrote that would be clear. Has everything to do with the decision making process and that process could put me in danger.

    Yeah…equal care for all. Does that mean – again – that my care will be lower? I suspect it will.

  69. ekaton  August 11, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    “Think I want to have some petty functionary making a decision on my care?”

    If you have a health care insurance policy you ALREADY HAVE “some petty functionary” making decisions on your care! People need to realize this! Care is ALREADY being RATIONED in support of PRIVATE PROFIT.

    And, you have mentioned “NICE” a number of times. Did you define it anywhere? What is this “NICE”?

    Kent Shaw

  70. gazelle1929  August 10, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    The real dragon in the room is pent-up demand for health care services. How many people have put off getting health care because they could not afford it? How many kids are sitting around with chronic diseases for which they get no treatment? How many women are out there terrified about the large breast lump but unable to get the level of care they need? How many men are limping around with untreated hernias, because they did not have the truss funds to get help? (Sorry, I HAD to throw that last one in. I’ll try to be more serious.)

    I suspect that what we see coming to the ERs across the country is no more than the tip of the iceberg. When/if we get some form of widespread health insurance I think you will see huge numbers of patients coming out of the woodworks and overwhelming existing medical facilities.

    Those who are going to be quick to say, “See, I told you so, the wait for health care is astronomical. Just like the Government” will be rampant in their indigation and highly vocal in calling down scorn.

    But will the fault lie with the Government or will it arise from the very fact that we are trying to do something to help others that causes this huge bubble in demand? Will the doomsayers be patient and give the system a chance to work? Based upon the quickness with which the right has turned on President Obama after little more than a few weeks in office I suspect the answer is no.

  71. Hal Brown  August 11, 2009 at 8:48 am

    Recommended reading: 

    Costly health care problems that should be fixed (from CNN MOney) 

    and

    Eugene Robinson OpEd

     

     

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