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Curb Your Enthusiasm for Obama

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Posted on Aug 31, 2008
AP photo / Jae C. Hong

By Chris Hedges

Barack Obama’s health care plan coddles the corporations that profit from the misery and illnesses of tens of millions of Americans. The plan is naive, at best, and probably disingenuous when it insists that we can coax these corporations, which are listed on the stock exchange and exist to maximize profit, to transform themselves into social service agencies that will provide adequate health care for all Americans. I wish we lived in such a rosy world. I know, and I suspect Obama knows, that we do not. 

“Obama offers a false hope,” said Dr. John Geyman, the former chair of family medicine at the University of Washington and author of “Do Not Resuscitate: Why the Health Insurance Industry Is Dying, and How We Must Replace It.” “We cannot build on or tweak the present system. Different states have tried this. The problem is the private insurance industry itself. It is not as efficient as a publicly financed system. It fragments risk pools, skimming off the healthier part of the population and leaving the rest uninsured or underinsured. Its administrative and overhead costs are five to eight times higher than public financing through Medicare. It cares more about its shareholders than its enrollees or patients. A family of four now pays about $12,000 a year just in premiums, which have gone up by 87 percent from 2000 to 2006. The insurance industry is pricing itself out of the market for an ever larger part of the population. The industry resists regulation. It is unsustainable by present trends.”

We face a health crisis. The Democratic and Republican parties, awash in campaign contributions from the beasts they should be slaying on our behalf, have no interest in addressing it. A report in the journal Health Affairs estimates that, if the system is left unchanged, one of every five dollars spent by Americans in 2017 will go to health coverage. Half of all bankruptcies in America are because families are unable to pay their medical bills. There are some 46 million Americans without coverage and tens of millions more with inadequate policies that severely limit what kinds of procedures and treatments they can receive. 

“There are at least 25 million Americans who are underinsured,” said Dr. Geyman. “Whatever coverage they have does not come close to covering the actual cost of a major illness or accident.”

Obama, like John McCain, did not support HR 676, the single-payer legislation. The corporations that run our for-profit health care industry, which would be shut down if the bill was enacted, have vigorously fought it through campaign contributions and armies of lobbyists. A study by Harvard Medical School found that national health insurance would save the country $350 billion a year. But Medicare does not make campaign contributions. The private health care industries do. They have lavished money on Obama. He received $708,000 from medical and insurance interests between 2001 and 2006, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. And Michelle Obama is a vice president for community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Hospitals, a position that paid her $316,962 annually.

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“The private health insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry completely and totally oppose national health insurance,” said Dr. Stephanie Woolhandler, one of the founders of Physicians for a National Health Program. “The private health insurance companies would go out of business. The pharmaceutical companies are afraid that a national health program will, as in Canada, be able to negotiate lower drug prices. Canadians pay 40 percent less for their drugs. We see this on a smaller scale in the United States, where the Department of Defense is able to negotiate pharmaceutical prices that are 40 percent lower.” 

Sen. Obama argues that we can improve the system by expanding government oversight. The government, he says, should require doctors and hospitals to prove they provide quality care. His plan links payment with reported quality. This would mean that health care providers would have to hire even larger staffs to collect and report this data to the government. There would be a $10-billion federal investment in health care information technology over five years under the Obama plan, in essence turning record keeping from paper to electronic data. 

Obama’s plan, said Dr. Don McCanne, who writes on health care issues, would actually make health plans “more expensive, which compounds the problem.”

Obama says he would require insurance companies to use more income from premiums for patient care.

“There isn’t an enforcement mechanism,” Geyman said bluntly. “Most states have been unable to control rates or set a cap on rates.”

Obama’s plan would also not cover all Americans. Unlike in Canada, citizens would not be enrolled in a plan automatically. Americans would have to go looking for one they could afford. And if they could not find one they would remain uninsured. Dr. Woolhandler, who is also a professor at Harvard Medical School, estimates that “tens of millions” of Americans would remain uninsured under Obama’s plan. These numbers would swell as employers, who provide plans for 59 percent of those who are employed, continue to reduce coverage.

“The only way everyone will get insurance is with national health insurance,” she said from Boston in a phone interview. “There is nothing in the Obama plan that will change the bitter reality that working-class families face when their breadwinner gets sick. People with catastrophic illnesses usually lose their jobs and lose their insurance. They often cannot afford the high premiums for the insurance they can get when they are unable to work. Most families that file for bankruptcy because of medical costs had insurance before they got sick. They either lost the insurance because they lost their jobs or faced gaps in coverage that meant they could not afford medical care.”

Obama has borrowed John Kerry’s idea to have the government absorb certain severe costs, although again the details are not spelled out. Insurers, he says, would no longer be able to discriminate based on preexisting conditions. All children would have health coverage. He would, he says, expand Medicare and Medicare-like coverage to protect the very young and the elderly. This is laudable, if he can make it happen. But the fundamental problem is a health industry run for profit. Our health system costs nearly twice as much as national programs in countries such as Switzerland. The overhead for traditional Medicare is 3 percent, and the overhead for the investment-owned companies is 26.5 percent. A staggering 31 percent of our health care expenditures is spent on administrative costs. Look what we get in return.


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By Max Shields, September 1, 2008 at 11:09 am Link to this comment

By cyrena, August 31 at 8:57 pm # “Stick with what you know Chris. If your Nader hero has a better plan, put it out here. Maybe Obama can adopt it.”

Nader has a plan and Chris has mentioned it. It’s HR 676. Read it some time.

Btw, Obama has already rejected it. THAT’ THE POINT OF THE ARTICLE!!! Did you even READ it?

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By KDelphi, September 1, 2008 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

Peoplp ewant to survive—what do you not understand abou tthat? I hear every9one screaming abouthe response to Katrina and I agree! It was one of the saddest days in myu life—and the day i decidee I could not vote for same-o ever again! Thje corporations are killing us, [people! I dont just watn this for myuself!What about the conditions that let NO Hurricanes happen>?! NO ONE in the US should be left to die because they dont have a car or it is the ned of hte month and they don t have gas! I get so AAAUUGGHH!!There aer Bush-made gazillionaires in the uS—let them give somethibng back for a change! And dont take twen yrs to do it! Stop the watr! Tax rich people! Stop the health insurance murderers!

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By KDelphi, September 1, 2008 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

It is beginning to look like it wil take a violent coup. Somethign I am not infavor of—but if you give peol enothing to lose—look at history!

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By nadervoter, September 1, 2008 at 10:56 am Link to this comment

How many more do you need?

What’s your breaking point?

This is a suberbly reasoned, powerful indictment of the two party duopoly. 

Continuing to vote for the lesser evil can now be seen as becoming ridiculous.

Every time there’s an argument made that if you don’t vote for the Dem presidential nominee you’re going to get this and then we get that, seems to be forgotten.  So, it’s articles like this that remind us of the falsity of that argument.

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By KDelphi, September 1, 2008 at 10:19 am Link to this comment

Viet vet—I used to work at a Vet Center—met my husband there! I think that it is disrespectful of veterans service to deny people free speech, to refuse to pay taxes (while other people fight and bleed) and then come home to being treated like crap!

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By KDelphi, September 1, 2008 at 10:15 am Link to this comment

I obviously cannot have posted some of these to this site—the thread wasnt even open yet. Keep playing games—or getyour ass busy figurin g out why your “proressive ” candidate is even in the polls with an old poltical hack after 8 yrs of Dubya. Oh, its “race”—right. Not FISA, not healht “non care”, not the re-decision on the war, not the “tax cuts will take 10 yrs to roll back”. He did enormously well in the caucus states. He should be miles ahead. What happend? He ran to the right. And you cannot change that be censoring me, mis-quopting me or caling anyone names. Obama can change it. Lets see him do it.

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By KDelphi, September 1, 2008 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

Insurance cos. are part of the entire capitalism/death complex. For progressives to not support a natl health insurance is barbaric and not forgiveable—at least in my book. And there are many others. If you may not survive—all else begins to pale. Its not that you dont care—you just begin to have t5rouble wondering why you should.

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By VietnamVet, September 1, 2008 at 9:57 am Link to this comment

By Frank, September 1 at 6:34 am #

I had not planned to further address your post, but one last shot:

I did not miss your point, it simply was not stated in a way that one could understand your point.

Where are your statistics to point out that the cases I mentioned are “rare in a healthy population….?” As I recall, about 46 million of those without healthcare would question your point up front!

Where are your statistics that support that “The point is universal health care will cost too much in this country because of the willful unhealthy lifestyles of most Americans….” Most Americans?  Costs? More than an unnecessary war, for example? Figures please.

“I do not want my taxes to go up to pay for all the chain-smoking fat-asses who need triple bypass surgery at age 50.” How many people are chain smoking fat-asses needing bypass surgery at age 50? Figures please…I had bypass surgery at around that age, I never smoked, nor am I a “fat assed” over weight! Give us your studies, statistics, where you get your facts, etc., etc.

“The small minority of people who suffer major health problems through no fault of their own, like children stricken with diseases, struggle to pay for insurance because of the unhealthy lifestyles of most Americans, which drives insurance rates up because of the frequency with which expensive procedures must be provided.”

How do you know that people that suffer major health problems “struggle to pay for insurance…” From what I understand, there are millions that do not even HAVE insurance, let alone struggle to pay for it! Do you have any facts, studies, statistics to support that? Are you firmly convinced that only children are sticken with disases, how many Americans that do not have healthcare have unhealthy lifestyles…figures, statistics, studies?

Its great to take a study on Europeans Vs Americans out-of-context and show it here…it does not prove a hell-of-a-lot to support your points. By the way, I live in Europe (Spain) and the number of smokers over age 17 here (around 50-60%, some years back 74%) vastly surpasses the number of smokers in the USA, I think around the mid twenties percent or so.

So, my friend, when you start making those wild generalizations about the health care situation in the USA, keep in mind that a significant number of Americans (82% according to my last check) think healthcare is one of the major problems in our society. Your points are not supported and there are some 46 million Americans, all of which are certainly not over-eating, fat slobs, that do not share your viewpoint!

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By mill, September 1, 2008 at 9:48 am Link to this comment

Mr Hedges may not be enthusiastic for Obama, but I am.  I am convinced that the United States will do much better under the Senator from Illinois’ guidance than the Senator from Arizona’s. 

Vote for Obama, and lean on your congressional representatives to vote for the health care plan you’d love - i’d bet Mr. Obama is much more likely as President to sign it than Mr. McCain will be.

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By troublesum, September 1, 2008 at 9:40 am Link to this comment

“Tell us what to do.”
“The market will take care of everything.”

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By troublesum, September 1, 2008 at 9:36 am Link to this comment

“Give me a little liberty or give me a headache.”
“Not too much taxation without a little representation.”

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By thebeerdoctor, September 1, 2008 at 9:36 am Link to this comment

This election has worn me out. All that I have left to say can b e found here:
http://thebeerdoctor.newscloud.com/

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By Double U, September 1, 2008 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

Frank is a beautiful example of the ~~Vile Maxim of the Masters~~ being swallowed hook, line, and sinker.  Beyond Sad and Pathetic.
Look up the “Vile Maxim”, Frank, allow me to introduce you to you.  I dare ya.

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By troublesum, September 1, 2008 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

If most of the people who have posted here had been around in 1776 they would have said, “Let’s not be rash now, the British are the only owners we have.  Let’s make the most of it.  Make peace and hold their feet to the fire.”

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By KDelphi, September 1, 2008 at 9:28 am Link to this comment

I am posting too much. I am very enmotional about this one,due to recetn deaths among friends and family and my own illness. But dont expect me to vote for anyone who is not, at the very least, prposing it. I just cannot do it.

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By KDelphi, September 1, 2008 at 9:25 am Link to this comment

Dont give people nothign to lose—its bad for the economy, capitalists!

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By Bunky, September 1, 2008 at 9:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ve always admired your reporting and this articles captures the issue entirely.  This article should be kep alive.
As Ralph Nader said that no one in the European countries died last year because they didn’t have health insurance.  In this country, it happens all the time.
Congratulations and thanks for a clear, well written, honest report.

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By KDelphi, September 1, 2008 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

It seems no noe wants to hear the truth about health care—so, let me put it this way—ther are alot of people (more than you would think!) who have lost their homes, gone bankrupt, and are teetering on poverty (or already there!)becauswe of our crappy health care system. It is the shameof the world. If you want these votes, people to get in their cars (if they have one—some just wake u in them)and DRIVE (at $5 a gallon) to vote—give thenm a reaons. People with nothig left to lose are a threat to you corporate infrastructure! Think of the stock mkt! Look at history-!Does that somehow make ti tseem more imperative to yu?I just have real trouble understandint how , otherwise perfectly decent czaring people can come off with this “we just cant do it” crap! Call someone from EU or jAPAN. We dont need to reinvent the wheel.

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By KDelphi, September 1, 2008 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

You must be healthy or have very good coverage. If we cut out hte tax cuts (all of them!), get out of Iraq (faster than 16 mos!), and stop invading everybody—we can afford it. If we dont even try, adn keep capitulating to insurance cos (who need to find a better line of work than death—just liek war profiteers)nothing wil happen. I could go into personla family details, but, suffice it to say, that, in my family and neighborhood, no one wil ever be middle class again!How are you goin to have a democaracy without a middle class?

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By KDelphi, September 1, 2008 at 9:14 am Link to this comment

Want the worknig clas vote? Natl health care. Want to reduce homelessnes and bankruptcies and home mortgage rip-offs> Natl. health care. I believe alot of peol eare unaware how many of our domestic probl today aer directly attributable to ouw STUPID REFUSAL TO GIVE EVERY CITIZEN WHAT THEY NEED TO NOT DIE INTHE STREET! If you dso not want ot do this—you aer a phony, neo-liberal. Conyers and the CBC want to do it. WHY not the DNC and Obama-? We look ie idiots to hte rest of the world.

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By G.Anderson, September 1, 2008 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

Yes, there will quite probably be billions wasted along the way to universal health care.

Partly because we no longer have an infastructure that can provide adequate care. We are short, thousands upon thousands of Doctors, Nurses, Psychiatrists and medical professionals, as well as hospitals, ER’s, and diagnostic centers.

Does your current Doctor even speak English?

Since managed care, made billions closing down hospitals, cutting the fees of providers, and limiting care, there was a price that was paid for that.

A price that meant woefully inadequate availablity of medical care, even for those with health insurance. Now lets try adding 40 million uninsured to that mix, along with millions of underinsured. Whose going to provide them care? And where will they get it? The HMO’s own what little infrastructure is left.(A number of states sued HMO’s for lying about their network numbers, but it didn’t help much.)

For years HMO’s dreamed of getting state accounts like Healthy Families, until they found out the high cost of servicing these accounts. They are people that require endless services, with multiple intractable problems that haven’t been dealt with in generations. 

Meanwhile the health of Americans has deteriorated, the pharmeceutical companies reaped billons, marketing unsafe medications, through a politicised FDA, the USDA allowed all sorts of unsafe food practises by Giant Agribusiness corporations… and on and on and on..

California would be better of, restoring the Community Health Care system, and Community Mental Health System, that was gutted by a succession of Republican govenors, than trying to establish universal health care coverage. 

To put it bluntly, when and if we go to universal health care, it’s not going to be a panacea, it will take decades to put such a system in place.

What we have now is a huge damed mess.

People like believing that we can wave the magic wand of Universal Health Care coverage, and that it will solve all our problems, it’s not going to do that.

At this point we’ll be lucky in the next few years to avoid states going bankrupt, just like Orange County did, California may be the first.

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By Virginia777, September 1, 2008 at 9:12 am Link to this comment

Hedges main message is not being seen by some of the commentators. It should NOT be overlooked by Obama supporters because it holds True, and puts the ball squarely in OUR court. This is the fight we have before us - and it has everything to do with the alarming weakness of the Left:

“We on the left, those who should be out there fighting for universal health care and total and immediate withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, sit like lap dogs on the short leashes of our Democratic (read corporate) masters. We yap now and then, but we have forgotten how to snarl and bite.”

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By KDelphi, September 1, 2008 at 9:10 am Link to this comment

Way off topic..because no one cares. This could be a winner issue for Dems, if they had teh courage of their convictions. If Marxism was corrupt, it wqas corrupt—I hear peole say all the time “communist dictatorship”—that is a contradiciton in terms—if it is a dictatorship—it is no longer communist!

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By felicity, September 1, 2008 at 9:08 am Link to this comment

It’s amazing that so many Americans paying federal income taxes somehow are satisfied with getting nothing other than a bloated MIC in return. Anybody ever pay at the store counter and walk out with nothing?

Health-care benefits provided by employers is money not going for salaries and therefore money not taxed.  Do we realize that in effect the tax payers are subsidzing those benefits? Do we further realize that by the way of the back door, employer provided health care is a $126 billion/year government health insurance system?  (And a flawed one at that given that we’re 35th in the world in the quality of our health-care.)

Friedman (I certainly didn’t lament his passing) argued that corporations were only reponsible for making as much profit as possible - satisfying consumers and investors.  In fact, social responsibility was never and never will be the business of the corporation. Sad, but true.

Since insurance companies are corporations, we should get over ever thinking that their inclusion in any health-care system will ever benefit anyone but their investors.

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By Stephen Rose, September 1, 2008 at 9:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We are dealing with an excellent politician. My enthusiasm is undimmed. Does this mean you will not work hard to end an unbroken stream of Bush-McCain depredations? How things change. Reserve your fire for enemies like the NYT and other MSM marauders or you will end up as ambivalent as Bob Herbert and irrelevant as Maureen Dowd.

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By Folktruther, September 1, 2008 at 9:05 am Link to this comment

You may be right, Max, that the beginning of a real progressive movmeent will not move the Dems to the left; they may simply be too corrupt and finished as a political force.  As the population moves left, they may move right, and concentrate on the professional class and the deluded for votes.

However, in developing a new progressive movment, progressives can develop their own lexicon and conceptual language that sharply distinguishes their ideology from the Dem pseudo-progressives. I suggest that this ideology may not be formulated around around Freedom that the US power system has discredited around the world, but on power.  Power to the people. 

I suggest that powerism may possibly be used as a keystone to replace the socialism of the 20th century, which it partially incorporates. The blending and vagueness of liberal ideology, a conservative ideology in most Western power system, pevents people from communicating, and thus, thinking, in a clear, general way from the populations perspective. This political language has evolved with design to make murder respectable and give solidity to pure wind, as Orwell put it.

Although the political worldview of the populatin is formed primarily by political events, when crisis or collapse occurs, it is the ideas available that guide action.  Marxism revolutionized world social theory in the 20th century.  It is now necessary to form a more general ideology and political language that can unite progressives in the 21st. 

I suggest increasing the power of sumerged populations may offer a way forward.  This would require splitting off a section of the professional class and changing their class affiliation, as occurred in marxist groups.  But the cadre organs of marxism led to abuses so they to must evolve into a different form.

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By KDelphi, September 1, 2008 at 9:01 am Link to this comment

WHY can Obama NOT support Conyers Bill—HR676?? Why? Why does Conyers ands al the Congresspeople who signed onto it think we can do it? Because he thinks it would stop money from HNOs, the insurance industry—thath is the ONLY reason peole! Ask people in Canada, EU or Japan! It works! Not perfectly, but 20,000 peop edo not DIE in these countries every year that coudl ber prevented!

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By KDelphi, September 1, 2008 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

WHY can Obama NOT support Conyers Bill—HR676?? Why? Why does Conyers ands al the Congresspeole who signed onto it think we can do it?

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By KDelphi, September 1, 2008 at 8:57 am Link to this comment

If you dont think “corporation” ia a four letter word after these 8 yrs of subsidies and deregtulation—you should go vote for McSame! WHY is it “the best we can do now”? Because you are too selfish to pay for it. Just be honest. Thats all iz ask. And Obama needed the campaign money.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, September 1, 2008 at 8:42 am Link to this comment

Two things:

Thing one:  Corporation is not a four-letter word.  It’s as American as apple pie. 

Thing two:  In a presidential election, especially as close as this might be, it’s not as important to speak the truth as it is to appeal to the center and to lure crossovers and fencesitters.  Dems want the WH and Congress.  Disenchanted Repugs can help with that.  We shouldn’t go off half-cocked about the rhetoric but wait until the Dems acheive their goal and then hold their feet to the fire.  We might be surprised what will be accomplished on behalf of the middle class and poor by an Obama administration working with a dem. congress while at the same time appeasing the money people in America. 

Chris, Chris, Chris, cool the rhetoric, please, and get behind Obama and those dem. senators sorely needed to fill the Obama/Biden vacancies and make the Senate filibuster-proof in Nov. 

The goal is to get rid of and not replace the neocons.  I think Obama is a great option who will, given time and support, get the job started once elected.  I feel pretty certain the dems know the depth and breadth of voter sentiment and, if they’re smart and want longevity, will honor a mandate, knowing if they don’t, they might not get another chance any time soon.

If we don’t get them in office, we have a zero chance of accomplishing anything we want.

Let’s revisit the single-payer thing in a year or two.  You don’t raise taxes on the MC in a down economy.  We need to be talking now about ending and paying for the war, repairing the deficit and developing an energy policy toward independence. That’s quite enough, IMHO, for now.  The regression of the Bush administration over the last eight years will make any modicum of progress during the first four Obama years look huge.

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By samg, September 1, 2008 at 8:36 am Link to this comment

while hedges is of course correct that obama’s health care plan will not provide us with the single payer plan we need, it’s the best we can do for now. the political power of the health insurance companies will simply not permit a single payer plan now, and obama knows this, as hillary did. we have got to get to that point incrementally. so obama’s plan is the best we’ve realistically got right now. let’s go with it, as imperfect as it is (paul krugman has discussed its imperfections at length), and try to get from there to single payer after we elect him president. but that’s not good enough for hedges, who supports ralph nader. that’s about as stupid a position as anyone can take. didn’t hedges learn anything from the election of 2000? you’d think a guy who’d survived covering wars all over the world for 15 years would have some common sense. but hedges evinces none when he backs nader or insists on single payer now. it’s impossible. it can’t happen now. i love single payer. i’ve been on medicare, which is single payer, for 10 years. it’s wonderful. it’s the right plan. but it’s not gonna happen now. we’ve gotta work toward it for everybody. and that’s what electing obama will do.
move us incrementally. backing nader (as hedges said he did on c-span in an interview with brian lamb) is ridiculous. it’ll only end us up with four or eight more years of the worst.

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By jackpine savage, September 1, 2008 at 8:34 am Link to this comment

Chances are that health care reform will end up being forced upon America by market realities rather than politics.

Going abroad for major health care is a booming industry, and one that some insurance companies are now paying for.  Hospitals in South Asia are now built with luring Americans to them in mind.  And, apparently, the care is top notch and a damn sight cheaper than getting fixed in America.

One story, quoted in The Economist told of a man who spent $7,000 for everything: flight, heart surgery, hospital stay, AND a vacation…and he felt that the level of care was better than in America.

Outsourcing is our answer.  Hell, it worked for our corporations (kind of)...why not make it work for us?

P.S. Chris, we know that Obama isn’t the savior.  Anyone with a brain knows that great change isn’t going to come from either major party.  How about telling us what we can/should do. (which is probably to not wait for the federal government to act but to deal with this issue at the state level)

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By Kashilinus, September 1, 2008 at 8:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hillary, not Obama, will craft the health plan. A sensible one will include refunds to participants who follow programs of good health preservation. That’s an incentive that will pay off handsomely. Everyone wins.

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By KDelphi, September 1, 2008 at 8:30 am Link to this comment

If someon does not care if I die, or am disabled, and in pain—why should I vote for them? 20,000 peopl ea year. 20,000. Think of it. 20,000. Peole just like you. You coudl get hit by a bus tomorrow. 20,000.

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By KDelphi, September 1, 2008 at 8:28 am Link to this comment

Want my vote? Nationalized, universal health care for every human being in the US, birth to death, and I will vote for yu, even if I disagree on some other things, because it will save peoples’ lives. Ialso, do not smoke, (quit years ago)am not obese, but I cannot exercise—wtih PT I might be able to—HMO wont pay fo rit

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By TheRealFish, September 1, 2008 at 8:27 am Link to this comment

Okay, so it appears that in a choice between Obama and McCain, on this issue, maybe the choice is a wash? Can we then expect to see the follow-up piece describing McCain’s plan in equal apocryphal tones and damning evidence?

Hedges asserts that “the Democratic and Republican parties, awash in campaign contributions from the beasts they should be slaying on our behalf, have no interest in addressing it.” Next he points out that “Obama, like John McCain, did not support HR 676, the single-payer legislation. The corporations that run our for-profit health care industry, which would be shut down if the bill was enacted, have vigorously fought it through campaign contributions and armies of lobbyists.”

Accepting both of these to be true, then why was the article not titled something like “Neither Obama Nor McCain Offer Health Relief”?

Perhaps, then, this election must be decided on other issues—like who appears to have the calmer head in a crisis? Or who appears the better manager? Who speaks for his own campaign and who does not (according to “handlers”)? Who make the best “first choice” as proto-president (as evidenced by choosing a running mate)? Who wants us to stay in Iraq and who wants us out?

We are only left with those and many other substantive issues on which to decide the campaign—assuming everything Hedges says to be fact.

Where representatives of the MSM—and I guess Hedges falls into that category—fall all over themselves to focus on Obama negatives (at least according to a recent survey from Pew) and barely glance at McCain’s actual positions above the MSM script that calls him a “maverick” ad nauseum, this article (no matter its merits) fits a very disturbing pattern by both what they say and what they refuse to talk about.

Once more, I say that I eagerly await Hedges’ linguistic scalpel to cut beneath the surface of McCain’s health care plan and draw similar insightful conclusions. I would love to see them published as sidebar pieces to each other.

But I am not holding my breath.

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By KDelphi, September 1, 2008 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

Sorry—couldnt resist! Big PineKey , right?? I tried to move there to an old blacksmith’s shop—but could not get finanacing. I snorkel, scuba, etc. and it realy improved my health. I miss it alot. I know no one cares—but, hell—just wanted to give a shout out to my REAL home! Anyway, I agree with whqt you are saying—it is selfish , in the extreme, to be a millionaire (like both parties largely are) and deny people life saving (or eve-n improving—could save you$$ people!)treatment. I pay for religious schools, churches, a war i protested in the streets, and tax cuts for billionaires. The oil companies, who aer now screwing us, and getting ready to do so MORE, with the Hurricane as an excuse! Never let a opportunity for creative capitalism pass you by—even at the expense of peoples’ lives. What profit a man to gain the whole world if he loses his soul?

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By Max Shields, September 1, 2008 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

By Folktruther, September 1 at 7:00 am #

I agree with nearly everything you just posted. Where I differ is the expectation that the Dems will be forced to create real policy that differs from the Corporate elite.

The system, as you rightly put it, has learned to be even more carniverous in tamping down progressives. The Dems have washed progressivism so it is blended with neocon/neolib policies and completely unrecognizable. Orwell has given us the picture in no uncertain terms. Our lexicon has forsaken us as left has become right and right left as anti-war has become “just not this war”. As a little government supervision for health care becomes a “vision” for health care.

Clinton’s wars were all acceptable to this Obama-cadre. Clinton who made the invasion of Iraq possible, was ok, but Bush just didn’t know how to execute it. Now with Obama you get the Clinton Executioner advisors to show the Repubs how to wage war at 10,000 feet, call the civilian deaths collateral, and keep the American people shopping and watching the ball game.

That system cannot be reformed anymore than the privatized health care system can. It must be replaced!

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By Simpleman, September 1, 2008 at 8:18 am Link to this comment

IMO if we make health providers show quality care, they will only provide limited care rather take a chance that their quality should come in question.

I have had three personal experiences concerning health administration ineptitude.

I once needed back surgery for which my health plan required a second opinion.  I went with my medical records to a second surgeon. All he did was review the records and wrote up an opinion recommending the surgery.  When my insurance company refused to pay his $600.00 bill I asked him to reduce it, but he refused.  I then went to the AMA with a complaint against him.  They agreed that the bill was outrageous and said they would address the matter.  He also refused their interference in his practices.  When he AMA did not get back to me, I called them.  They told me they had no power of enforcement and I would have to pay the bill out of my own pocket.  In short the AMA represents the doctors, not the public.

Another time I questioned a doctor’s rapidly rising costs for office visits.  I was told by his administration that their office rent kept rising and their office visit costs were justified by these costs.  After some investigation, I found that the office rent was based, not on any reasonable fixed amount, but rather upon a percentage of the doctor’s income through the office.  It followed logically that as the office visit cost increased, his income increased and his rent increased, which then started the cycle again.  I wondered why the clinic he was part of would agree to such a rental arrangement.  I then discovered that the corporation that owned the building was none other that the doctor’s who ran the clinic.  In short, they kept raising their own rent to themselves and passed the cost on to the patients.  AS these costs increase, so do the insurance premiums to pay for them.  So much for controlling medical administrative costs through governmental control.

When I retired, I was supposed to receive free medical insurance as one of my retirement benefits.  That changed because of rising insurance costs.  Now two thirds of my retirement pay goes toward medical insurance.  Of course this was justified by the fear that the medical insurance costs could bankrupt the retirement fund.

I am sure none of me examples are unique.  All these examples are completely legal, so no amount of government oversight would have any effect on them

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By KDelphi, September 1, 2008 at 8:18 am Link to this comment

that I really do not understaned how, anyone who calls themselves a progressiev )or, hell, a caring human being!) can defend Obam or the DNC on. Its about the MONEY , people. And if Obam “means well” on this issue—he has a funny way of showing it. I had read in MoJo that Michelle mad $950,000 a yr at U of Chicago Hos—I stand corrected—Hedges is usually correcton the facts. And in my opinion, in his commentary. Not always—he is religious (not traditional)—I am not.

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By Dave in Big Pine, September 1, 2008 at 8:17 am Link to this comment

Frank

you don’t want to pay for the fast asses, but you don’t say a word about 12 billion a month for Iraq?

i don’t want to pay to subsidize churches. i don’t want to pay to beautify ski resorts and the infrastructure that surrounds them because I live in the Keys and wont use them. i don’t want to pay for a lot of things….

but that my friend is the point of taxes. for all of us to share the burden, and be able to enjoy the fruits of what those taxes proivide. I may not enjoy the benefits that accrue to skiers, but they may not ever need the services of the Coast Guard, as I might. we share the burden to provide for all.

and something as beneficial, and important as health care for all should be at the top of the list. and so what if some one doesn’t take care of themselves as well as they should? that’s just the price of shared burden. and besides, one of the features of universal health care will be prevention and education to mitigate the “fat asses” from becoming such.

have a heart man. you say nothing of your money going to kill, but have a problem opening your wallet to your fellow Americans in need. shameful.

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By KDelphi, September 1, 2008 at 8:11 am Link to this comment

I have read all of his books and he is right on the money!The type of “reform ” we would get under Obama’s plan (which has changed back and aforth a few tines)would cost too much, leave too many people out, etc. When I hear people say “we just cant do it” or “we just cant afford it”—did yu read how much we would SAVE? We already spend alot more than ANY of the countries taht have natl plans—how woud it cost more?? If we STOP THE WAR, and the tax cuts to millionaires (we should go alot lower, in my opinion), we can certainly afford it. The prob is, peopl ewho are still comfortable just don t WANT to do it. Everyone else in the free world does. Just say it-you are not sick, and you dont want to be bothered. There you go—thats honesty, at least. But stop screaming about people dying in Iraq until you take care of the 20,000 that die in the uS every year from a lack of good health care—no, scream abou both! And pull Obama to the left while he still needs our votes.

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By Max Shields, September 1, 2008 at 8:08 am Link to this comment

Another great, cogent and impassioned post by Chris.

G.Anderson: “Try to think of this as a transition period. We are going to have health care reform, that’s a certainty.”

This is what Hedges means when he says in earnest: “...we liberals are a spineless lot.”

G. systems don’t work like you apparently think. This is not simply a neat and tidy transition period. Billions more will be spent with the Obama “plan” rather than with a sustainable single payer system. The current system is privatized - you can’t be kinda pregnant!! 

In his book, Free Lunch, David Cay Johnston ennumerates on the current insurance system which takes and gives NOTHING. Large insurance companies employee tens of thousands of people in essentially “make work” programs that add NO value to health CARE. As long as profit drives the system, it will be GAMED, not for the good of the American people but for the good of the shareholders and CEOs.

Such a system is preditory and CANNOT be “transitioned” from that to, as Hedges’s aptly says: a social service organization. To think otherwise is at best naive; at worst disingenuous.

The fundamental model not only doesn’t work it kills.

But it is liberals like the Obamaists, who keep putting their hands over their ears/eyes when facts are presented and sing child-like: LALALALALALALA…

Refusing to face reality aint going to change reality.

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By LibertyWatch, September 1, 2008 at 8:07 am Link to this comment

It is easy to find faults but no one has come up with a remedy for the disastrous medical system in America. Mr Hedges is right though, about not trusting Obama to change it. I like Barack but he has swung to the right of center and I am leaning away at this time.

For what faults that exist at least other countries do provide “National Health Care” and make it work. There are so many things that can be done but as long as the Hawks and the Pentagon have first take from the national treasury the citizens will be last in line and the less served, if at all.

I’m afraid the only way to save America is for a radical social reformation to provide for everyone and take the corporate greed out of the equation. I believe in paying a fair price for a product, or service, but this entire medical industry has become so skewed to the wealthy, and the elite, that the common citizen is dumped at the curbside of the local welfare center. It is wrong, simply wrong and a sign of corporate hubris.

There is no light visible, from either side and no hope for meaningful change. The lies and greed will continue until a total collapse occurs like the great depression and then all of the big shots will turn to the government with their palms up demanding more public funding for their greed.

In my mind the medical system is a reflection of our country and it will all soon fall from decay and profiteers raping the last bits of good from the public safety nets that now have giant holes throughout today as a result of governmental mismanagement.

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By Folktruther, September 1, 2008 at 8:00 am Link to this comment

It is generally agreed that the two candidates are bought and paid for by the corporations and those who own them.  It is less agreed whether the marginal differences between them are significant.  And sitll less of a conseusns of what to do about it.

I suggest that the first thing that must be done is to change the discourse from Dem-Gop to Dem-left or Dem-progressive.  Instead of sleazing Gops, Cyrena and the other Dem neocons must be transformed into sleazing people like Hedges, Nader, McKinney and those who support them, like myself.

Both candidates have marched right with Obama voting for lawless spying on the population and a Zionist warmonger as partner.  As Hedges points out, if we continue to support Obama no matter what he does, he can continue to go to the right at no political cost.  If there is a viable left that opposes both candidates, as Norman Thomas opposed Roosevelt in 1932, it will force the Dems left.  More importantly, it will help develop a progressive movement not tied to the Dem party whose leaders are bought by corporations.

A msjot reason why the Dem-Gop consensus is so far to the right is because pseudo-progressives like Cyrena, who may honestly think of themselves as progressives, keep going to the right to follow the Dem leaders.  The Dem candidates do not go to the middle of the population’s consensus, but to the middle of the ELITE consensus where the money and media come from. 

It is necessary to form a progressive consensus independant of the Dems, since their leaders and activists will mute and neutralize movements that are incovenient to the neocons.  Like the peace movement which the Dems deeply damaged.

Doing so risks getting McCain as president, and although his policies are similar to Obama’s, he is much worse personally.  But there is no risk in those states where the election is not close, since voting for McKinney will not make any difference in the Gop-Dem balance.  And providing McKinney with as much support as possible threatens the Dems with the loss of election spoils in future elections if they continue to shit on progressives.

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By Leefeller, September 1, 2008 at 7:56 am Link to this comment

Frank,

Your chicken or the egg approach to health care is worthy of status quo.  Which came first ignornace or corprations? Well done.

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By cilcsster, September 1, 2008 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

On my recent post about 5 surgical procedures in as many years…I am not a smoker, couch potato, or eater of junk foods! However, I agree with those postings that say we shouldn’t pay for healthcare for those North Americans who are.

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By G.Anderson, September 1, 2008 at 7:48 am Link to this comment

So then what?

In case you haven’t noticed, America’s economy is failing.

Most U.S. corporations now want some sort of government health care, because it will save them money, because they can dump the cost of paying for health care for their employees.

Try to think of this as a transition period. We are going to have health care reform, that’s a certainty.

However on the other hand, any system they put in place short of Universal Health Care will be a failure. It may take several tries to get there, and it won’t happen over night, but in time that’s where we’re headed.

You can also expect lmiitations for people who use drugs, smoke and suffer from self caused degenerative diseases.

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By Frank, September 1, 2008 at 7:34 am Link to this comment

VietnamVet, you missed the point of my post. This is not about the cost of procedures which should only be necessary in rare cases in a healthy population, it is about the costs of insurance and universal health care provided to a population who NEEDS those procedures far too often because of their own personal irresponsibility.

The point is universal health care will cost too much in this country because of the willful unhealthy lifestyles of most Americans, and those of us who choose to take care of our health responsibility should not have to help pay for the health care of those who do not.  I do not want my taxes to go up to pay for all the chain-smoking fat-asses who need triple bypass surgery at age 50.

The small minority of people who suffer major health problems through no fault of their own, like children stricken with diseases,  struggle to pay for insurance because of the unhealthy lifestyles of most Americans, which drives insurance rates up because of the frequency with which expensive procedures must be provided.

Europe healthier than U.S.
By Lisa GirionOctober 02, 2007

Costly diseases, many of them related to obesity and smoking, are more prevalent among aging Americans than their European peers and add as much as $100 billion to $150 billion a year in treatment costs to the U.S. healthcare tab, a new study says.

http://articles.latimes.com/2007/oct/02/business/fi-healthspend2

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By Frank, September 1, 2008 at 7:30 am Link to this comment

VietnamVet, you issued the point of my post. This is not about the cost of procedures which should only be necessary in rare cases in a healthy population, it is about the costs of insurance and universal health care provided to a population who NEEDS those procedures far too often because of their own personal irresponsibility.

The point is universal health care will cost too much in this country because of the willful unhealthy lifestyles of most Americans, and those of us who choose to take care of our health responsibility should not have to help pay for the health care of those who do not.  I do not want my taxes to go up to pay for all the chain-smoking fat-asses who need triple bypass surgery at age 50.

The small minority of people who suffer major health problems through no fault of their own, like children stricken with diseases,  struggle to pay for insurance because of the unhealthy lifestyles of most Americans, which drives insurance rates up because of the frequency with which expensive procedures must be provided.

Europe healthier than U.S.
By Lisa GirionOctober 02, 2007

Costly diseases, many of them related to obesity and smoking, are more prevalent among aging Americans than their European peers and add as much as $100 billion to $150 billion a year in treatment costs to the U.S. healthcare tab, a new study says.

http://articles.latimes.com/2007/oct/02/business/fi-healthspend2

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By OGP, September 1, 2008 at 7:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We already have single-payer health care. It’s called Medicare. All that is needed is for Obama to delete the words ‘65 and older’ and we are home free.

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By VietnamVet, September 1, 2008 at 6:58 am Link to this comment

RE:By Frank, September 1 at 5:02 am

You are so far off base my friend that your post does not even warrant a response! But, here is a short one, just the same.  Apparently, you are totally unaware of the costs for heart surgery, brain surgery, or other major surgery. The average middle class American could not come near affording these costs out of pocket, as you apparently suggest. God help you if you are ever unfortunate to have a major health problem! But, then again, it might give you a new perspective on health care?

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, September 1, 2008 at 6:37 am Link to this comment

Cynthia McKenna, Nader and Bob Barr are not viable candidates.  They can say outrageous things knowing it won’t impact the outcome of the election for them.

Chris, you give us your details about how you’ll make our system single-payer, how you’ll set it up, time lines and how you’ll pay for it and then see if your plan doesn’t scare the hell out of small gov., tax fearing conservatives. 

All in all, as bad as we want it, easier said than done.

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By troublesum, September 1, 2008 at 6:23 am Link to this comment

How pathetic to hear so many people saying, “We’ve got to get him elected first, then we’ll hold his feet to the fire.”  What fire?  It burned out a long time ago.  The anti-war movement collapsed on March 19, 2003.  75% of Americans don’t know where Washington is or how many branches of government “serve” there.  The democrats have a shot at the imperial presidency and they aren’t going let a bunch of left wingnuts stand in their way.  Americans are too stupid to realize that all of Europe from England to Scandinavia to Italy to Russia has universal single payer health care but we can’t have it here because…. it’s too complicated to explain but has to do with us being Americans who are tough enough to take care of ourselves when we’re sick.  Do-it-yourself triple bypass. Don’t go getting the idea that insurance companies are bad or that there’s anything unamerican about making a buck.
There are a few words in Michael Moore’s “Sicko” that say it all:  “In France the government is afraid of the people; in the US the people are afraid of the government.”  Both candidates of the Party intend to use that fear to the Party’s advantage.  Like teenage girls at their first rock concert many leftist journalists have been carried away by Obama fever.  A few like Chris Hedges still have their feet on the ground. 
Even the WSJ editorial page says that an Obama administration is more likely to be a Bush third term than a McCain administration; McCain being to the right of Bush.  So the choice is between Bush and Bush on steroids.  This is nothing to get excited about.  A vote for Obama is an endorsement of the past eight years and more of the same; a vote for McCain is a vote to move further to the right.  If people are going to vote for Obama let them do it with their eyes open.  Obama says he is going to end the war and bring all of the troops home.  Does anybody remember when Clinton said in the fall of ‘92 that he was going to topple the coup which had just ocurred in Haiti and reinstate Aristide as president?  We were going to have national health care… he was going to reverse the upward redistribution of wealth… there was going to be a peace dividend following the collapse of Soviet communism.

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By Big B, September 1, 2008 at 6:19 am Link to this comment

Perhaps i should not comment at this time. Our insurance premiums just went up 25%, and they added a 500 dollar deductable!
There may be no other problem in this nation that more approprietly represents our downfall than our healthcare system.
We know that 1/6th of our people have no insurance.
We know that at least that many have inadequete coverage that is very often too expensive to use.
We know our veterans receive substandard care.
We know that, in the next 15 years or so, that upwards of 60-70 million more people will turn 65 and begin to cost the healthcare system oodles of money.
Socialized medecine is the only way to go now. And it may be too late for that! But we have try.
Has either candidate addressed this? No.

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By Dave in Big Pine, September 1, 2008 at 6:13 am Link to this comment

Is obama a better choice than McMoron? you bet. he is articulate and poised and will be far less of an embarrassment when representing America.

then again, how articulate do you need to be when invading sovereign countries, thumbing your nose at the U.N., or telling a mother her kid died because she didn’t do a good enough job “shopping ” for health insurance.

you guys need to understand and embrace the concept that obama is nothing more than a run of the mill, bought and paid for corporate candidate. nothing is going to change of any substance.

how can anybody with half a brain, and heart, not embrace single payer health care for all? how is that possible?

the answer is, is that it isn’t. obama is the lesser of two evils.

i have no problem with those that support him; but to add on the idolatry is too much, and simply shows an ignorance of the reality of politics and leadership in America.

elect obama to be sure, but you should all be holding your nose as you pull the lever.

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By Anthony Oland, September 1, 2008 at 6:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ve lived in California for over 20 years.  In ‘98 I moved to Toronto Ontario, to the country I was born in.
In ‘02 I had a small surgical procedure, in ‘04 a larger one, in ‘06 a triple by-pass in Feb. and in April a carotid procedure followed by a stroke (in the hospital).  Think about what all this would cost in California!  My only out-of-pocket expenses were the $4.11 per subscription for medication and $100 per year medical fee.  All this was done in state-of-the-art medical facilities in Toronto.  I am fully recovered!!!  Chris is RIGHT, medical care is not something like building cars or something, it involves human life!  In this case Canada wins hands down!

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By Frank, September 1, 2008 at 6:02 am Link to this comment

Lazy, overweight, couch-sitting, cigarette-smoking, fast-food eating, heavy boozing Americans do not deserve health care funded by anyones dollar except their own.

Why should Americans who approach their own health and well being with responsibility and self-control have to subsidize the moronic masses who create their own health problems and then can’t pay to treat them?

Americans will deserve Universal Health Care when they demonstrate universal self control and personal responsibility. I think that day is still a long way off.

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By moineau, September 1, 2008 at 5:36 am Link to this comment

“Curb Your Enthusiasm for Obama”? what an odd title for a piece on obama’s health care reform program. is your next piece going to called “curb your enthusiasm for obama II”? seems superfluous to me.

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By sns, September 1, 2008 at 5:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“We on the left, those who should be out there fighting for universal health care and total and immediate withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan…”

Immediate withdrawal you say? Further proof that you are out of touch Hedges.

This either/or binary sports team rooting and affiliation w/ a political party is further proof that you people are silly. Two similar parties and you’re fooled. Dummies.

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By Double U, September 1, 2008 at 3:18 am Link to this comment

Hiya Cyrean.
I want Obama in with the whole of my stupid heart, and I’m not sweating it at all these days.  But, like you, I suspect, I want to keep him and his toes to the fire.  I can see why one would cringe at “nit-pickers” at this point, with a spent and senile loose-screwed cannon and a Nature-hating hockey mom at the verge of the helm, but I can only do politics to my very limited and often hot-headed ability.
Pork rinds and whale blubber, yum yum!

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By cyrena, September 1, 2008 at 2:58 am Link to this comment

I hear ya Double U. It is pretty nauseating. I’ve yet to comprehend why Obama allowed Hillary’s team to come camp out at his place. Purple Girl says it’s because he’s keeping an eye on them. I dunno. It’s definitely worrisome. Specifically Madeline and Holbrooke. They worry me a lot.

But…there’s something odd about the Furman thing…which makes me wonder about the pundit connections. He may in fact be all that is being said..re anti-worker, pro-walmart, etc, etc.

But here’s the thing..OBAMA IS NOT!! And I mean, he CLEARLY is not! He feels about Wal Mart the way Louise feels about Wal Mart. Like she says, if she collapses in the street, and Wal Mart is the closest facility for any sort of emergency services, then just let her die in the street. That’s how much she WON’T patronize Wal Mart.

Well, Obama has come real close to the same. He’s made it clear that he won’t even go into a Wal Mart, and he also made the point to have a UNION Made suit for his convention delivery.

So, I honestly don’t know how much stock to put in whatever ‘economical advice’ he might be getting from this guy Furman. I really, really don’t.

I don’t know if it’s something like me being hired to do bookwork at the local Catholic rectory, even though I’m an atheist or what. Like maybe they don’t care that I’m an atheist, because I do good book work, and they don’t have to pay me much.

I don’t know. Just a thought.

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By Double U, September 1, 2008 at 2:24 am Link to this comment

Nope, oops, the Sept. issue of Z is not yet online.  I subscribe to the print version as well so I’m a bit ahead of the curve, heh heh.  Sept’s issue is on magazine racks at your favorite independent bookstore, thought!!!
Peace and Noise,
Double U7. Bondage.  James Bondage.

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By Double U, September 1, 2008 at 2:12 am Link to this comment

Believe and like it or not, it’s kind of important to retain a grip on reality and dispense with the Tiger Beat heavy breathing. I highly recommend Lawrence H. Shoup’s new article, “Obama and McCain March Rightward.”  It can be found at http://www.zcommunications.org 
Here’s a snippet: “...three days after H. Clinton pulled out…, Obama declared on CNBC: ‘Look, I am a pro-growth, free-market guy.  I love the market.’”  Further, take a look at Obama’s “Senior Working Group on Foreign Policy (June 2008).  Along side Mrs “We believe the cost is worth it” Albright and others, are Warren Christopher, Anthony Lake, Sam Nunn, etc., etc., etc.  Then, once you can put down the barf-bag, take a look at Obama’s selection to head his Economics Team, JASON FURMAN!!! Quoting again: “Furman is known for his anti-worker policies.  He is, for example, one of Wal-Mart’s most prominent defenders, calling this giant vampire corporation, a “progressive success story.”  For [Furman], Wal-Mart’s critics are the real threat and he has said that “efforts to get Wal-Mart to raise its wages and benefits” are creating “collateral damage” to the economy.  Wal-Mart is owned by the Walton family [not John-boy], one of the wealthiest on the planet, with about $80 billion in assets, yet their corporation pays its workers barely above the minimum wage and offers few benefits.  Marco Trbovich, a senior aide to the president of the United Steelworkers, said Furman “is an unalloyed cheerleader for the trade policies that have been very destructive to manufacturing jobs in this country.” (Pp. 27-28, Z Magazine, September 2008).

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By cyrena, September 1, 2008 at 1:23 am Link to this comment

Yellowbird,

Odd that you would mention the infant mortality rate, since this isn’t a ‘new’ problem. It’s been that way in places like rural Mississippi and (the highest figures) and other rural areas of what is primarily the south, and about 97% women of color. In fact, the infant mortality rate in these locations is HIGHER than it is in many 3rd world countries, and it has EVERYTHING to do with prenatal care and education, and access to medical and social services. So don’t start with the pioneers and the 3% hydrogen peroxide being enough to combat these problems. The infant mortality rate (as well as the maternal mortality rate) was WAY high back then as well. Poor nutrition and a lack of basic information about how to care for oneself, and the fact that many of these women NEVER see a doctor, (not even an old time ‘country doc”) makes all the difference in the world. We’re talking YOUNG rural women here yellowbird…miles and miles away from any area that might provide services, and no way to get there even if they were so inclined, and convincing them to BE so inclined is not always an easy chore, for any number of reasons. Social workers are scarce and they cover a lot of ground, limited to what they can actually do. So it makes little difference if one has 3% hydrogen peroxide in the cabinet, as that does nothing for the multiple conditions that can and do arise during pregnancies, in everything from gestational diabetes to Placenta praevia , to toxemias to eclampsia, to a hundred other things. Things that could and would be monitored and treated during routine pre-natal care, that are NOT when these women never even see a doctor or any other medical practitioner.

Too many babies die in these areas, and those are the reasons. No health care. No education on what to even expect. What do you expect them to do, DRINK the hydrogen peroxide?

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By yellowbird2525, September 1, 2008 at 12:55 am Link to this comment

http://www.abcnews.com; article on USA babies death rate higher than any other countries: of course it is folks! THEY doing their ususal acknowledge the problem then POINT in a different direction distraction tactics: claimed “poor prenatal care”; give me a BREAK! the pioneers had LESS death rate than now! http://www.mizer5.com gives info on dental self sufficency; THERE IS NO NEED FOR CHEMICALS FOLKS! it is a LIE paid for by $ to Congress; hydrogen peroxide 3% kills bacteria and VIRUSES! That’s correct folks: used by docs etc in 1930’s’; then penicillan came along; wealthy folks came along; and wham bam off with a slam! on TRUTH: it was all about how to get the most $ from the folks; and how to do it was to make put lots of things to harm them in almost everything! so they can keep those $ coming in from Pharma! MOST folks would NOT have the problems if it were not caused DIRECTLY & PURPOSELY: by FRAUD or putting ingredients in to cause the problems folks; and they are “not going back”; which means, they are NOT going back to organic; healthy, nourishing foods; not going back to no poison toxins in babys formulas, shampoos, creams, lotions, food products; floride: it is banned in almost every country but this; it was put into the water supply after HITLER did it; reason: to poison the people cuz the people were easier to handle when ill; hello! what did Bush say at {green” conference in Japan? We will LET THE BUSINESSES DECIDE when they WANT to do anything; cuz THAT is who CONGRESS, and your Gov’s & all political parties are working for; sold out folks;

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By yellowbird2525, September 1, 2008 at 12:45 am Link to this comment

watching McCain’s wife today: saying;the standard “aren’t you glad we aren’t like Russia?” we are so wonderful wonderful wonderful*****lets examine this: the Feds are forcing animal farmers to put chips in their animals & forgetting to reimburse them for it; at their own expense; http://www.naturalnews.com; gives a story today about HOW the industry works; and how a huge Corp is buying up all the farms; once again, anti trust is broken; our schools are in shambles; in 2007 one school was given BOOKS which they had never had in their library; in Georgia folks: NO hurricanes; NO tornados; no $ to ever do so; but boy howdy, those mega $ keep rolling in to those Corps::: and of course, OUR GOV conveniently CHANGED the laws PROTECTING the PEOPLE from Corps; which, our Gov has NEVER been set up FOR THE PEOPLE anyway: but FOR BIG BUSINESS; who by the way, ORIGINALLY: all taxes were to be paid for by profits from Big Business; now, the PEOPLE are billed TAXES for Corps; and Corps get it all! and the people are being steadfastly POISONED: check out genetic seeds, genetic beef and chicken; our veggies are being RADIATED now to remove all nourishment; whatever is in the MEAT here is being PICKETED in S Korea & has been since they said they were going to import BEEF from USA; Amazing to me is the HYPE over toxic things coming from China: when in reality your HOMES are toxic waste that should not even be LIVED in;

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By yellowbird2525, September 1, 2008 at 12:37 am Link to this comment

our politicians sold out to the wealthy years ago; this nation is run to make $ by exploiting the people for years; we are “told” this is the way “democracy” works; NOT; it is the way the dictatorship works; very cleverly offering “choices” and giving folks the idea that if they object strenuously enough something will change: NEWS FLASH! it will NOT; the corps work together with the politicians to maximize THEIR pocketbooks; and of course the politicians get wealthy as well; EX: chemical companies have put formaldehyde one of the most toxic chemicals known to man: in everything; from asparteme (Rumsfield) pushed thru; to Johnson’s Baby shampoo, clothing, furniture, anything & everything for 1 purpose to rob citizens of their health; so the pharma’s get major $; who pay drs to meet quotas on prescriptions; and major prizes & bonuses for pill of the month (average 600,000 xs the cost of the meds is what folks pay here in USA); the FDA is for “show” only: to “appear” to be something when in reality it is a SHAM like the “democracy” crap is; IF you have insurance, FED LAW says the insurance companies do NOT have to cover; even if it’s in your coverage; because it might affect their profits; SWEET, when 1 St at least MAKES the people PAY for insurance coverage or be fined; either way, $ is leaving YOUR hands for theirs;

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By Outraged, September 1, 2008 at 12:17 am Link to this comment

Re: Gmonst

Your comment: “Obama’s health care plan is not perfect, probably not even good, but its a better than what we have now, and better than what McCain is offering.”

>  While it obvious being TOTALLY UNINSURED is McCain’s “epiphany” of health care, Obama’s serves only to relegate American taxpayers to the vices of insurance companies.  How many tax dollars will they scam off the backs of taxpayers?  In addition, how PROFITABLE will it be for them to then DENY claims?  Obama’s “plan” does nothing but enhance the coffers of the insurance industry giants.

More money for them, less power for us, THE PAYERS OF THOSE PREMIUMS.

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By Outraged, September 1, 2008 at 12:07 am Link to this comment

Re: Cyrena

Your comment: “Gee Chris,

You’re just becoming a jack of all trades here, which leads to the inevitable of course, creating a master of absolutely none.

Stick with what you know Chris. If your Nader hero has a better plan, put it out here. Maybe Obama can adopt it.

Otherwise, just go back to your morose writing on a topic that you know better. Health care legislation isn’t it.”

>  Qualify your premise.  How is it that you feel more “ordained” to decipher whether Chris Hedges is a “jack of all trades here, which leads to the inevitable of course, creating a master of absolutely none.”

Also, could you explain EXACTLY what you’re referring to when you assert, “just go back to your morose writing on a topic that you know better.”

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By Mighty Gorg, August 31, 2008 at 11:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

While I am not happy with many things about Obama including his health plan…  I have however no desire to facilitate in anyway McBush getting elected.  That is all a third party vote does and is why Repubs have donated money to the Green Party.
There is a difference between Rupubs and Dems… one major one being that there are people working within the Democratic party to make it better.  By encouraging people to vote third party the only thing you are doing is helping Republicans get elected.  Take your valid points about eating off the corporate trough into the battle do not waste them on a third party vote that can only help make things worse by electing McBush.

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By Gmonst, August 31, 2008 at 11:30 pm Link to this comment

Obama’s health care plan is not perfect, probably not even good, but its a better than what we have now, and better than what McCain is offering.  Hedges is right that we should be pushing for true universal health care.  Without a doubt that should be the goal.  However, I think he is very wrong when he asserts that the best and quickest course to universal health care is by voting for McKinney or Nader.  This will do absolutely nothing to get closer to the mark.  At best it will be a harmless gesture of little meaning or importance, at worst a piece of a McCain victory.  We need to elect Obama and then continue to push for real universal health care. Its important to make sure their is a ear in power that is receptive to the idea of universal coverage.  I am pretty sure Obama is, and I know McCain isn’t.

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By rybo, August 31, 2008 at 11:22 pm Link to this comment

A wonderful article! I grew up in Massachusetts and have experienced the horrid, insurance run American “health care” system. Years ago I moved to Sweden, which has what America needs, a National Health care system. We have a large family and believe me, my wife and I lose no sleep concerning our health care. We pay high taxes, but we don’t pay bloody insurance fraudsters premiums for our coverage.

America needs to break the strangle hold of robber barons of the insurance world and Obama isn’t going to do it. My mother in law had quadruple by-pass surgery a couple of years ago and I also had a minor operation a few years back. In the States, this would have put us in debt for years. Not the case here and the quality of health care here is excellent. Too boot, we’re not burdened with gobs of paper work.

Compared to Scandinavia and Sweden, in particular, concerning health care, the American system is primitive. God bless you all that have to live with the American insurance company monster.

Since I’m a dual citizen I’ll be voting for Nader. Obama has let me down on many issues of course, including health care.

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By Mayponce, August 31, 2008 at 11:05 pm Link to this comment

Obama’s health care plan is nothing more than insurance and pharmaceutical company welfare. But then again, I get the feeling alot of these liberal Democratic enablers are going to feel dirty and used once they get a taste of Obama’s centrist kinder gentler American empire.

While Hedger’s worships a big bad man in the sky, he is right on as far as this issue goes.

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By Steve B, August 31, 2008 at 10:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The numbers are compelling, but I cannot vote for McCain to protest Obama’s shortcomings. While voting for Nader makes a statement, doing so wastes a vote against an out-of-touch man desperate enough to gamble on a VP wild card for the world’s most powerful job.

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By Rick, August 31, 2008 at 10:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yes, the two party system is broken. But following Hedges’ advice to throw support behind Nader or McKinney means a McCain administration. This nation cannot, I repeat… cannot afford that.

The system will only be fixed from the inside, and Obama at least has the right instincts. He is running to the center right now in order to get elected. But I genuinely believe that the man’s instincts will lead him to govern from the left.

Cutting off our nose to spite our face really isn’t an option this November. The potential cost is just too high.

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By Fahrenheit 451, August 31, 2008 at 10:04 pm Link to this comment

The failures of this (our) government, in the hands of both parties, is legion and ongoing; but the single most horrific failure is the lack of universal health care.  How can we expect our government to deal with the world, out there, in a fair and equitable way when it fails its’ own citizens and callously oversees a falling standard of living for said citizens?  That we can still be romanced and seduced by a sweet talking politician certainly says something about our mental health.

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By cyrena, August 31, 2008 at 9:57 pm Link to this comment

Gee Chris,

You’re just becoming a jack of all trades here, which leads to the inevitable of course, creating a master of absolutely none.

Stick with what you know Chris. If your Nader hero has a better plan, put it out here. Maybe Obama can adopt it.

Otherwise, just go back to your morose writing on a topic that you know better. Health care legislation isn’t it.

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