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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Writing about health care-- again

Politics Ahead

Writing about the health care bill has to be one of the more frustrating things I do around here. I know the facts are out there as to what is proposed but again and again hear people say that nobody knows what it is. Yes, a firm bill is not passed, but the proposed one is there to read. I hear lies repeated about what is in that, but you can't get many people to look beyond Fox News for their information.

In the spring, I favored government-run, universal health insurance which would cut out the for-profit insurance companies from primary care (stock market would drop like a rock), letting them offer supplemental packages (as with Medicare). I still believe that would be best. It'd take awhile to get it done right but in the end, it's the best hope for a fair and balanced program. Given the total paranoia expressed at the very thought of even a public option, it is dead in the water.

Yes, I have heard the arguments. The government couldn't work it right. How does the government manage for Medicare, Veterans and the Congressional health program?

I also thought we could afford to take time to form a health care package to be sure it was the best possible. I still think that would have been wisest, but it's also not how it's going to be-- because of politics.

On her MSNBC news program, Rachel Maddow did a cute analogy of what we face. She and a work friend decided to order pizzas for the group. Both agreed that they wanted pizza. She picked up the phone and asked, okay with sausage? No. With pepperoni? No. With mushrooms? No. No. No. You get the idea. He said he wanted it but every single thing, which goes with pizza, he refused.

That is what we are hearing from Republicans with health care. Democratic leadership needs to face the truth. On this issue, bipartisanship is dead in the water. No matter how the Democrats try to compromise, the Republicans will not vote for ANY health care reform. How do you compromise on insurance companies that need 35% profits?

And also from what I read, Democrats will have enough trouble getting all their Democrats to vote for it. So Obama and Democratic leadership needs to go for what they believe is best, put pressure on those in their party and forget Republicans. Republicans see this as a way to get back power.

Republicans and right wing Democrats might defeat the eventual proposals, but that is better than a worthless bill that passes and makes the whole situation worse through no cost controls and forcing everyone into the pot. When that fails, and it will based on rising costs, guess who will take the blame? Better we lose right now than to let something damaging get past us in the name of bipartisanship.

More time to get this exactly as we want it is not there. Much as I dislike the idea, if we don't get a bill out there in the fall, I am not sure we will get another chance. I believe this for several reasons.

First is because the next Congressional election is coming fast. If Obama loses his majority in the Senate or House, we can kiss off any change. I don't really know what the odds are for a Republican recovery, but I can see reason for concern given the history of voting in this country. Republicans think denying un- or under-insured Americans health care (except in ERs) is their ticket back to power. They are riding that horse as far as it'll take them.

Second, if the nutty right can build up this much rage over offering everyone a chance to be covered for basic health care, they won't let up and it will only get worse. So I favor getting what we can and getting it signed.

There are a lot of problems though with having that package not include a viable public option. It's not too late to make our voices heard on this issue. It is important to let Congress know how we feel.

Bob Herbert expressed my concerns well regarding the public option-- [This is Reform?] Without the public option, the 'reform' will be a bonanza for the insurance providers. (I had another term I intended to use here but fortunately looked up to be sure I had its meaning exactly right. Turns out its primary meaning had changed since I was a girl. Eek!)

A public option is one way to get control over costs. Without it, don't we have to trust the same companies whose profits have risen so astronomically. Do we expect the leopard to change its spots? Why?

Here is, however, another take on the public option-- [It's time to give up on the public option]. This whole thing is nothing if not confusing.

It's true, if we could get medical systems to control costs, it might be possible that the public option wouldn't be needed. Although, if this was only about run away medical costs, how do the insurance companies reap those huge profits? To me asking them to be more responsible is pie in the sky thinking. Drug companies say they need the higher prices to do research. If that was so, they also wouldn't have the profits as they'd all be plowed back into research. They are lying as usual.

So bottom-line, I favor health insurance reform now even if we can't get the whole package. I recognize (based on what I read from the Obama proposals) that might end up costing me, as a Medicare recipient, a bit more money, but it's what is fair and best for our whole nation that we get control of a run away health care system.

If we don't get a handle on health care costs, Medicare premiums or denial of care will go up anyway. The rising costs will require something happening with or without meaningful change in how we manage health care in this country. We cannot have the decision on health care decided by those who choose to be ignorant or are tools of the corporate interests( pharma and the multiple layers of insurance) who have been profiting mightily from things as they are.

Yes a lot of Americans are now afraid of health care reform, even those who worry about their insurance if they are laid off, but who are the loudest ones, the ones who have been instrumental in denying the rest of us meaningful reform?

Inside Stories on Town Hall Riots

Town Halls

The ones making it onto YouTube or on the news illustrate how ignorant they are of the facts, but boy are they loud. They don't like government care but warn don't touch their Medicare. They worry about government making choices on who gets help with medical expenses, but they don't worry that insurance companies already do that.

In any HMO today you cannot go to a specialist without prior approval unless you are paying for it yourself. You can only receive covered second opinions from those who are in the same insurance package. What makes some Americans believe that insurance companies care more about them than the government? Where is the evidence for that? Our current system? You jest.

This concept of fearing government intervention amazes me. Let's just think about what government is-- people. What was insurance-- that is before the profit motive took over? It was one person helping another. That's what people forget. We pay our premium which covers someone else's needs and someday it might be us needing it.
Government could let doctors make choices that today are made by insurance bean counters...maybe.

David Letterman (on many right wing blogger's enemy list) should do a Top Ten lies about health care reform. Maybe he has. Anyway here are some valuable links. It is important that as many people as possible be informed to tell others the truth about our current system and the proposed changes:

Questions and Answers from White House on health care changes

Nate Silver's take on Life After Death of Public Option

We have been given the opinion that elders are most afraid of health care reform. Ronni Bennett from Time Goes By decided to make August 20th a day for elders to write about it again and she would post their links on her blog. Here is the URL for their opinions on health care reform.

Okay, this last one is not exactly significant information about health care but what it is for me is a good smile after all the negativity this last week of people insulting Obama and generally acting totally ignorant about our country or the plan. Sometimes a laugh is as important as anything else in such a trying time. Some are saying the woman comes from a left wing, anti-Semitic, hate fringe group headed by Lyndon LaRouche; but from wherever these ignorant and insulting people are coming, it's good to see one put down and in a witty and very polite way.

Barney Frank saying what many of us have been thinking. Yeah, Barney!

(Photo is from Monday on the creek as I looked down on it from where Farm Boss was repairing a fence and I was helping-- a little.)


Rain Trueax said...

Incidentally if you have written in favor of health care today, get over to Ronni's blog. The link is above but also in my side blog list, and give her your URL. She will add it to the list.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

It is all so damn depressing to me....As Mr. Frank said--it is like these people are from another Planet! OY VEY!

Betty said...

The young woman Congressman Frank asked what planet she was from reminds me of a young woman I used to work with who strongly defended Oliver North and "less government." That is, until her disabled sister needed residential care and then, silently with little to-do, took all the government assistance she could get. Basic health care is like public schools and interstates and public water systems. It is in all our best interests. Thanks for your post!

Mark said...

Right on! I consider myself independent but Frank was right on the money with this one, so was Boyd. it's appalling how many people are getting in a frenzy without doing thier homework. It's scary actually. Keep it up and please visit my site.

lilalia said...

Excellent post. Thank you for making such a appeal for health care reform. A national medical system without public option is not really a national medical system at all. A new bizarre twist to a story with many such twists.

RobbinMT said...

Yes !!! we were on the same wave-length today, so i did go to your friend's site to post as well.

if we all pull together and remind our elected officials that this is what we voted for, and we pray in our individual ways, and we make a bigger fuss than the far-right, maybe we have a chance!

Diane Widler Wenzel said...

Although the poles look dismal for Public Health Care, today's response to Ronni's blog gives me some excuse to continue hoping for the best. I sent Ronni my url for my post on health care.

mandt said...

Rain, You're doing a great job this!

Ingineer66 said...

I was looking at the poll on who the uninsured is. Did I miss something?
28.6% were less than $36,000
8.8% $36,000 to $89,999
4.5% greater than $90,000

41.9% total.

How much do the other 52.1% make?

And I do not believe the hype on either side, but you are using as a source on a partisan political issue.
That has about as much credibility as quoting the American Petroleum Institute on 5 myths about drilling in ANWR.

Are you really are cheering for Barney Frank making fun of one of his constituents. What if Dick Cheney had called a voter that asked a question a moron?
This is how one of the most powerful clowns in the Congress treats people that ask him questions. Why does the left always attack the person asking the questions instead of defending the issue?

I will debate you on the merits of single payer health care all day long. But just attacking people on the other side and quoting extremists views does more to harm your case than it does help it.

Ingineer66 said...

whoops typo 58.1%

Anonymous said...

Enlightening comments, about how all those denying there are "death panels" are lying.

Rain Trueax said...

Ingineer, she called Obama a nazi. She had a sign that ridiculed him. Did you think that was Frank's constituent? Did you think the guys with AK-47s were honestly seeking a dialogue. Give me a break. You have gone completely over to the dark side if you believe any of that. I am amazed at how differently people see all of this. Nobody can call Obama a hitler and expect me to respect them. You have to be kidding. And any Lyndon LaRouche follower is not a Democrat or any follower of Frank. Republicans are encouraging this kind of ridiculousness. I find it amazing what has happened to the Republican party and have no respect for it at all. I am sure you feel that way about the Democratic party. We are a split nation. It amazes me how Republicans see this and yes, I liked how Frank handled it. I feel like he does. It's just plain a loss of time to try and debate people who would accuse Obama of being a Nazi.

Ingineer66 said...

OK I will agree with you that calling anyone a Nazi over the health care issue is wrong.
And I do not think anyone that brings a gun to where the president is visiting is being smart. I remember when Clinton was visiting a flooded area down by Sacramento and some guy said "Oh if I would have known the president was coming, I would have brought my gun." He got arrested by the Secret Service just for making a joke. So I do not think these nut-bars displaying guns are helping their cause either.
But I think it is a waste of time to debate Barney Frank about anything. The guy is a joke.
A majority of the American people do not want single payer health care, but the Dems seem to want to ram it through as fast as they can.

Rain Trueax said...

Do you ever listen to Barney Frank talk, ingineer or just hear what he's like through right wing outlets? He's articulate, witty and thinks very fast. He's no joke.

As for single payer, where have you heard it's in the health care bill? It's not. Did you read any of my links? lol

What most Americans do want is a public option which means you could sign up for something like Medicare at any age but it would be your choice. It would have a cost attached to having it but it would provide competition to the public companies who now say they need 35 cents profit on every dollar we pay for medical insurance. Do you think that's a good idea?

I am putting up a new blog as soon as I answer a few things in my blog here, and check out a few facts but sometime today. It will be for the naysayers, what do you want done about the rising problems with health insurance. I would like to hear what people who say no to pepperoni, to cheese, to sauce, to anything currently proposed think should be done. Nothing because they currently have insurance?

You know If there is karma, some, who say we need nothing done because they themselves are doing fine in the insurance department, might find in the future a situation where they suddenly like government intervention a lot if it will prevent their own beloved family member receiving medical help. Karma is a great teacher! and if you don't believe in karma, how about the Biblical-- we reap what we sow.

I do not understand those who say we need nothing done because they have to be paying zero attention to what is happening. My next blog will be asking the question because Republican Congressmen say we need to reform the system, but when you ask what should be done,it's no no no.

Rain Trueax said...

What Betty said in the comment above is how a lot of people find themselves on this topic. Suddenly they like reform when they or a family member has something catastrophic go wrong and they find out what today's system is like. Too many have very little contact with the medical system until they have that catastrophe happen.

Diane Widler Wenzel said...

I fear Barney was playing right into the hands of whoever inspired the woman to compare Obama to Hitler. I just wonder if there is a stronger symbol of a caring health system that would pluck at their heart string - I am sure they have a heart like us.

Rain Trueax said...

You are making an assumption, parapluie that all people are good and that they want to cause good in the world. I am afraid that you don't have any evidence for that other than hope and maybe faith in some divine goodness. History doesn't show it to be the case. As for the young woman, she had a picture of Obama marked to look like Hitler and started out saying health care was Nazi like wanting to kill everybody who was not well already. How would you reason with such a person? I am guessing she hoped he'd take up a lot of his question and answer time with her. He cut to the chase and I don't see what he said as wrong at all. He won't be liked by many people because he's a Jew and a homosexual. That is why anybody who would suggest he would favor Nazism is ignorant and uncaring to start. Wasting time with such is like talking to your dining room table only worse as it doesn't spout hate rhetoric back at you.

Ingineer66 said...

Barney Frank must be something special because he keeps getting re-elected after having his boyfriend run a gay prostitution ring out of his house. But voters are not always too smart. They re-elected Marion Barry as DC mayor after the coke bust and they re-elected William Jefferson after they found the $200,000 in his freezer. Personally I do not like him because he was a major player in causing the mortgage crisis and then attacked the banks for doing what he said to do. And I have nothing against him for his faith or sexual orientation. I have family members that fit into both of those categories.
And I agree with Parapluie that most people are good in their hearts. Some let their lust for power over-ride the good, but most are good on both sides of the political spectrum.

Cynthia Friedlob said...

I'm a fellow blogger who also posted as part of Ronni's "Day."

In your fine post I most appreciated the following observation:

"So bottom-line, I favor health insurance reform now even if we can't get the whole package. I recognize (based on what I read from the Obama proposals) that might end up costing me, as a Medicare recipient, a bit more money, but it's what is fair and best for our whole nation that we get control of a run away health care system."

That spirit of altruism is too often sorely lacking in so much of the opposition to reform. Thanks for stating what, to me, seems like the only ethical position to take.

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