Tag Archives: health care

Obama Addresses Congress on Health Care

9 Sep

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9:00: Republicans have insisted on tort reform.  Defensive medicine may be contributing to unnecessary cost, so we need to put patient safety first and let doctors concentrate on care.  The administration will immediately implement a pilot program that the Bush Adminstration proposed to that end.  The plan won’t add more deficit, the middle class will get more security, and rolling back the Bush tax cuts will pay for this thing.  These changes will reduce the deficit over the long term.

My door is always open, but I will not waste time with those who have made the calculation that it is better to kill this plan than to improve it.

The status quo is unsustainable, and it is not an option.  Too many Americans are counting on reform.

And Teddy Kennedy gets to express himself from the grave.

What we face, above all, is a moral issue…It is about the character of our country.

When people claimed that Medicare would lead to socialism, thinking people debunked that.  When people claimed that Medicaid would lead to a government takeover of healthcare, the congress passed it, responding to lies with truth. When the market cannot meet a fundamental need, then government has a duty to step in.

Also, let’s stop calling each other Hitler.

8:50: Debunking the bullshit.  Death panels. “It is a lie, plain and simple”.  Consumers do better when there is choice and competition, but in 34 states, 75% of the insurance market is controlled by 5 or fewer companies.  In Alabama one company controls 90% of the insurance market. Overcharging, jacking up rates, dropping people.

Some GOP congressman is holding up a sign and yelled out, “lie!”.  I guess even Congress has teabaggers.

UPDATE: that GOP congressman who yelled “lie” was Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC).

The public option is a means to the end of an ultimate goal – universal coverage.  Progressives need to keep an open mind, and so do Republicans, who ought to STFU about “government takeover of healthcare”.  But if Americans can’t find affordable coverage, the government will provide a choice, and no bureaucrat will stand between you and the care that you need.

I will not back down on the basic principle that if Americans can’t find affordable coverage, we will provide you with a choice.

This is Obama’s speech whereby he calls out everybody’s bullshit, everywhere.

The Republicans are all concerned about paying for programs?  They didn’t bother when they cut taxes on the rich or started wars in Iraq.

Part of the reason I faced a trillion dollar deficit when I walked in the door of the White House is because too many initiatives over the last decade were not paid for – from the Iraq War to tax breaks for the wealthy. I will not make that same mistake with health care.

We spend more in this country on health care costs, but we don’t get the best care in the world.  Reminds seniors that Medicare is a “sacred trust”, and Medicare trust fund money won’t pay for the public option plan.

8:40: The public option is the compromise. The shenanigans of the last month or so has basically spread misinformation.  Now is the time to deliver on healthcare.

If you’re on an existing single-payer plan like Medicaid, Medicare, VA, or if you’re on private insurance, you’ll keep it, and the only changes will be those that benefit the consumer.

– No denials for pre-existing conditions.

– No dropping coverage or watering it down once you get sick.

– No more lifetime maximum policy limit.

– Limit out-of-pocket, no one should go broke because they get sick.

Goes through the pubic option, health exchanges, and increased competition between insurance companies.  Small businesses will get tax credits to insure their employees.  Republicans: McCain ran on some of these ideas in 2008.

8:30: Too many go without coverage, and the ones with coverage find it to be expensive and inadequate.  Ours is the last wealth industrialized democracy to not guarantee health care to all of its citizens.

Provides examples of private-sector death panels, where people’s health insurance had been dropped arbitrarily in the middle of receiving cancer treatment.  This is, I believe, a direct shot at those who criticize Canadian health care with its wait times and occasional transportation of patients to the US for care.  This happens here, too. Not because the care is rationed, but because some can’t pay.

The left wants single-payer.  The right wants a PAYGO system.  But each represents a radical shift away from what most people have now.  It makes more sense to keep what works, and fix what doesn’t, than to start a whole new system from scratch.

8:20: Starts out reminding people that he last addressed a joint session of Congress when the economy was in the process of being flushed down the toilet.  Although we’re not yet out of the woods, the economy is on the right path.

Although he is not the first President to address the issue of health care, he says, “I will be the last”.  Since Teddy Roosevelt, Presidents have tried to reform the health system.

Labor Day Weekend

4 Sep

Posting will be light.  So, here is Senator Al Franken discussing health insurance reform with a group of skeptics at the Minnesota State Fair.  It’s 10 minutes long, so that should keep you occupied for 3 days.  Enjoy.

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Town Hall Wastes of Time

27 Aug

This is what I really have trouble understanding.

What the hell is the point of going to a town hall to be all rude and screamy at a congressman when the things you’re screaming are objectively incorrect?

What the hell is the point of going to a town hall to be all rude and screamy at a congressman who will give you a chance to speak, and will stay there until everyone has had a turn?

I can understand being angry, I can understand being confused, I can understand showing up to ask questions and find out more. But I don’t understand it when people show up to shout talking points, and then try to shout out the congressman when he tells them (truthfully) that they’re wrong. That’s just a dumb waste of everyone’s time.

It's About Discussion and Democracy

12 Aug

During its tenure, the Bush Administration ran roughshod over civil rights, wiretapping phone calls without a warrant, detaining people without charge, violated the Geneva Conventions repeatedly, he and Cheney systematically grew the power of the Presidency and the Vice-Presidency at the expense of the other two, constitutionally co-equal branches of government.  The power of the state was used repeatedly to trample constitutional rights in the name of national security.  Here’s a handy list of ways in which constitutional rights were eroded during Bush’s tenure. And yet, astonishingly, there were no tea parties.  No indignant people screaming to drown out Republicans at town hall meetings.  When Medicare Part D expanded drug coverage under the single payer plan we have for seniors, there were no angry Freepers screaming down anybody about euthanizing grandmas or socializing medicine.

There were no teaparties over the Bush Administration’s genuine infringement on constitutional liberties. Not. One.

Something must be different about Obama to bring out the lunatic fringe in this particular way.  The problem for the Republicans is that they have nurtured the ultra right for many, many years, and they’ve suddenly found that the Freepers have become the Republican activist base.  They were out and about during Clinton’s terms of office, blowing up federal buildings, setting off bombs at the Olympics.  Code Pink! you might say.  Yes, Code Pink made a lot of noise about being anti-war and stuff, but when they disrupted events, they got led away almost immediately.  This isn’t happening with the health care disruptions happening now, unless they turn physical.  To their credit, the Democratic legislators have been giving everyone a chance to speak, even if they’re yelling other people down.

But the rhetoric this time around is much more ominous.  They hated Clinton, alright.  But they really hate Obama. I mean, Clinton may have slept around and fired the people in the White House travel office, but Obama wasn’t born here, they say.  He’s an America-hater, they say.  He’s a communist muslim sleeper agent, they say.  That’s some crazy stuff, and if you dehumanize and demonize a guy like that, it can suddenly become ok to crazy people to do bad things.

Whereas Barry Goldwater had the balls to tell the Birchers to go to hell back in the 60s, recognizing that the JBS was a lunatic fringe, net liability to the conservative movement, contemporary conservatives are either actively encouraging, or else politically unwilling to do the same to the birthers, the deathers, and every other black helicopter weirdo who decides to say something stupid.

You know, if a guy who’s a little stupid and a little unhinged watched Glenn Beck enough and started believing that Obama was racist, and that a pretty benign health insurance reform plan would kill his grandma and make him go in front of a death panel, that guy might do something irreversibly illegal.  I’m genuinely afraid of that, and I’m also very concerned about the fact that the conservative movement and Republican Party are unable or unwilling to call out the lunatics among them.  John McCain tried, when some woman at a campaign event last year said that Obama was an Arab.  But that was the exception.  The big spokespeople for the conservative movement, Beck, Limbaugh – they’re deathers, which is dumber and more dangerous than being a birther.

How does any of this nonsense serve the people who are concerned or opposed to Obama’s health care plan and want to ask non-confrontational questions, read the bill, and debate it rationally with facts? How are they served by the disruption of town hall meetings?  I wish Obama and the Democrats would find a set of balls and do a much, much better job promoting this and tamping down the crazy. More choice, not less.  Health insurance access is improved.  You keep your current coverage.  If you change jobs, you can’t be denied due to pre-existing conditions.  Obama’s Communard death panel doesn’t exist and won’t kill your granny or your kid with Down Syndrome.

My only hope is that the silent, centrist majority of Americans are quietly watching all this and are appalled by it.  You know, the people who have shown up at the town hall meetings to learn about the health care bill and speak with their congressman about it – the ones who are undecided, and don’t believe the crazy shit, but don’t trust the promises.  Those are the people who are ill-served the most by all this, and it’s where most Americans find themselves.  It’s basic courtesy and a pillar of our democratic republic that patriotic people can disagree about a proposed legislation, and discuss it rationally.  One side in this battle has tactically decided not to do that.

I wonder why.

Informed Discourse

10 Aug

Some guys from TAP went to a Scott Murphy town hall meeting on health insurance reform.  Murphy controlled the event well, starting out by informing the screamers,

“When we are done people can tell me what they hate.”

That sums it up perfectly.  The irony here is that Murphy isn’t completely on board with the public option; he is closer in his thinking to the status quoists than with Obama.  So, there were many lefties on hand to urge Murphy to sign on to a strong public option, and others asking him to support the pending single payer bill.

There were people there handing out leaflets that can best be described as vicious scaremongering lies, which at least partly explains the anger by reform opponents.  The report continues,

Sadly, Godwin died a terrible death yesterday. I actually watched a Republican WWII vet tell Representative Murphy that this is what Hitler did. He gave all Germans, including the Jews, government run health care.

I watched, stunned by the enormity of teh stoopid.

It is like talking to a meth addict. No, there are no monsters in the shadows. No, there are no spiders on you. No, you can not fly, and there are no underpants gnomes.

I wonder what the political version of delirium tremons is.

The fact is, the GOP hopes Obama fails, from top to bottom. They hate you and Government, they believe whatever they are told as long as it reaffirms what they already think. These are the people who voted for McCain/Palin.

If we are depending on these clowns to compromise with us, we might as well wait for the Rapture with them.

So the Hitler comparo is justified based on a lie.  Personally, I think the funniest part is watching seniors – recipients of single-payer healthcare – advocating against “socialized medicine”.

But then again, if you believe what this woman believes, the truth and being informed don’t matter.

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Democrats Make Concessions on Health Care

9 Aug

Via DailyKos, I have learned that Democrats have yet again watered down a perfectly excellent health care insurance bill in an effort to gain bipartisanship and support from Blue Dogs and Republicans.  The era of post-partisanship may not be dead yet.

Here, alas, are the concessions that have been made in bullet-point format.  You can go to the original post to find out more.

  • We will not euthanize your grandmother.
  • Rahm Emanuel’s brother will not kill Sarah Palin’s baby.
  • The government will not nationalize hospitals and other health service providers.
  • We will make the health care reform bill available for all Americans to read as soon as possible.
  • We will not subsidize abortions with your hard-earned tax dollars.
  • We will not allow the government to have direct access to your bank account.
  • We will not provide illegal immigrants with unlimited free health care.
  • Private health insurance will not be eliminated.
  • You will not be issued a “National Health Insurance ID.”
  • There will be no super-secret-awesome health care program for ACORN employees.

Dammit, Obama.  You should go big or go home.  Watering down this bill to prevent grandma-euthanasia and not abort everything in sight is just a horrible travesty.

(NB: The above is satire.  Don’t be a dope. KTHX.  -BP)

Please Read

28 Jul

This and this, as it relates to the current state of the health care debate, and comparisons to 1994.

The Profit Motive

26 Jul

Why shouldn’t there be a profit motive in health care decision-making? Because the incentive on the payment or supply side is to deny you coverage and treatment to maximize profit.

Because medicine is now for-profit we have things like “recision,” where insurance companies hire people to figure out ways to deny you coverage when you get sick, even though you’ve been paying into your plan for years.

When did the profit motive become the only reason to do anything? When did that become the new patriotism? Ask not what you could do for your country, ask what’s in it for Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

If conservatives get to call universal health care “socialized medicine,” I get to call private health care “soulless vampires making money off human pain.” The problem with President Obama’s health care plan isn’t socialism, it’s capitalism.

Dumb Comments of the Day

22 Jul

They’re actually not on my site, but they’re tangentially related to something I wrote.

I can respect the fact that some people disagree that we need any kind of health care reform, or that we need a more or less radical plan than what Obama’s proposing.  I can respect the fact that people are uneasy or downright opposed to any sort of expansion of Medicare.  I disagree, but I can understand the opposition.

Among the attitudes I don’t understand are the ones that try to insinuate that health care isn’t a big deal.  That it’s just another consumable like Big Macs or cable.  I don’t think it is.  I think that a society like ours ought not have people without access to health care, nor people bankrupted by health care expenditures.  I think that a country like ours can and should ensure that everyone gets the care they need, and frankly I don’t care if you call it Trotskymarxistsocialism.

So, the dumb comments of the day come via Ostrowski’s site, courtesy of one Jackstraw.  First comes the reductio ad Supercutsium:

What I never understand with peoples desire for single payer systems, socialized medicine, whatever, is why just health care? Why not shoes, food, cars, entertainment, haircuts, schooling, housing etc? Why only health care? I mean why do I have to pay for anything at all?

Why, yes, he did say “schooling”.

But why limit it to shoes or haircuts?  Hell, where’s my damn Lexus?

Why should people pay for some things and not for others. Why the importance of health care? Why can’t people just pay for it out of their own pockets? You pointed out that a 5.00 sandwich and 10.00 pair of shoes are not the same as health care because health care is much more expensive. So….. if things are expensive government programs should be instituted to give everybody access? Under that idea I submit that I need a new Lexus.

Because clearly, a new Lexus will treat your cancer, prescribe you antibiotics, do an MRI scan of your head, and set your leg fracture.

Shock Horror

21 Jul

Read about the utter shock horror socialist failure that is socialized medicine in France when an American needed emergency laser retinal surgery.