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Why So Scared of a Public Plan?

Posted on Jun 11, 2009

By Joe Conason

Within the coming weeks, Americans will begin to consider critical issues concerning the future of health care for themselves and their children, including universal coverage, taxation of benefits, computerized records and the controlling of costs. But before the debate commences in Congress and the media, big insurance and pharmaceutical companies are lobbying frantically (and spending millions of dollars) to foreclose the possibility of the most promising aspect of health care reform: a public insurance option.

After decades of denigrating government—and worshiping corporations—the idea that a public program might work as well or better than a corporate provider may well sound counterintuitive to many Americans. How can government, which is so widely believed to do nothing well while wasting enormous sums, possibly be expected to outperform the highly efficient, supremely managed and profitably motivated corporate sector? Wouldn’t we be better off if we simply entrust the provision of health care to the insurance industry? How can we trust those Washington bureaucrats with our health?

Actually, many consumers have learned by now that those questions are misleading at best. They know, for instance, that trusting a health insurance company is likely to be an expensive mistake. They know, too, that corporate bureaucrats can be even more ruthless in denying help to a beleaguered individual or family than those who work in government.

Studies have repeatedly shown that patient satisfaction with Medicare, the quintessential public insurance plan, is considerably higher than with private insurers among comparable age groups. And consumers understand that the drive for profits often conflicts with patient care, leading them to the conclusion that insurance and pharmaceutical corporations are excessively powerful and socially irresponsible.

According to Republican pollster Frank Luntz, the people who respond to his surveys despise “insurer greed,” and are disturbed by their profitability, lack of accessibility, lack of accountability and excess of bureaucracy. There is “no love lost” between Americans and the private health insurers, he warned Republican congressional leaders as they considered how to oppose reform.


Square, Site wide
But the same arguments that have distorted the debate over health care will emerge again—especially the claim that private insurance is somehow more efficient than a public program would be, or that we cannot “afford” a public plan.

The opposite is true, as surprising as that may seem. During the decade that ended in 2006, to cite just one set of relevant statistics, the level of health spending per head (for similar benefits) grew 4.6 percent annually under Medicare, while spending under private health insurance rose by 7.3 percent. For many years, in fact, Medicare has performed better at controlling costs than private insurance companies.

One reason is simple and obvious: Eliminating profits for shareholders and management cuts out a major cost factor.

Another is less obvious: Private insurers consistently spend more on overhead and administration than Medicare. To anyone who shares the broad prejudice against government, the difference will be startling, although these numbers are very well known to health experts. The average overhead cost of Medicare is roughly 2 or 3 percent, far below the administrative costs of private insurers, which range between 27 and 40 percent.

These basic facts have broad implications for the nation’s capacity to ensure quality health coverage for all of its citizens. Private insurance has strengths as well as weaknesses, but there is no doubt that a new public plan, alongside Medicare, would become an essential yardstick—as the old New Dealers used to say—by which to measure the progress and efficiency of the private sector.

The private insurers will complain that this is “unfair” competition, but if the private sector is truly the efficient solution to our costly, wasteful and unfair health care system, then why is it so frightened of a public plan?

Joe Conason writes for The New York Observer.

© 2009 Creators Syndicate Inc.

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By Professional Indemnity Insurance, December 14, 2010 at 11:39 pm Link to this comment

The Health system phew, remains in shambles and I expect that there will be little improvement to the existing issues that plague many. I remain perplexed at the system, that if shared equally and considered to be in the best interests of the recipients, the patients then why cant it be relatively affordable for all?

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By bogi666, June 16, 2009 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is no health care industry in the private sector, it is a health insurance sector which only allegiance is to profit. It is an oligopoly divided up into profit zones of monopoly for specific companies. They don’t have competition and don’t want it. Those doctors against a public health care system are those who order unnecessary tests and prescribe expensive drug for which they receive kickbacks, money they don’t want to lose. Doctor against public health are in the minority but their bribes, campaign contributions, are generous. Senator Baucus for instance.When American finally wake up to the fact they are paying insurance premiums for medical claims only to be rejected by the insurance companies and that the insurance companies pay more to reject the claims of the insured than what it costs to fund the entire Social Security Administration they may finally stick up for themselves rather than the propaganda bogeyman scare tactics of the health insurance monopolies and crooked doctors.

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By KDelphi, June 16, 2009 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

Outraged—I empathize. I lost any money from our family’s rural home and any money I got from a rich, drunk guy who hit me on a motorcycle to Medicaid.

Sorry if I already told you this.And dont even think of trying to move to a place where you could work—the minute you sell you rhome, even if it isnt paid off, they get it all…no where else on earth ...

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By Blackspeare, June 15, 2009 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

Dear Outraged…

Your screen name says it all and I don’t blame you and you are not alone.  Many people have lost their homes to the government to cover medical expanses and/or nursing care, but there is a way out.  In your case your Mother should transfer the property into your name ASAP.  Currently, there is a 3 year look-back period so your mother has to live for at least 3 years after the transfer date.  Once this happens, the government cannot touch her property because it is now yours.  They are trying as hard as they can to create a 5 year look back period for obvious reasons.

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By Leefeller, June 15, 2009 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment

Yes, we have seen the ever so efficient private sector in action via the excitement of the bail out, no not bail out they call it something esles now? Nice to know there is no such thing as fraud in the private sector? 

So again we hear how the idea of a national medical plan is the same as socialist Russia’s working class, who never work as hard as the ever so caring capitalist. Yes, lining ones wallet is always most efficient.

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By seeitnow, June 15, 2009 at 11:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yes, 2-3 % overhead for medicare.  That’s easy when all that bureaucracy does is rubberstamp claims which in turn leads to massive fraud - which is what medicare is full of.  The private sector is still the most efficient. Who was it who said regarding socialist Russia’s working class and their relationship to the ruling government: ” they pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work”.

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By Outraged, June 15, 2009 at 1:24 am Link to this comment

In retropect, I see that my comment:  “If only EVERYONE were like my mother.” could be taken two ways, so…. to be clear, if everyone were “like my mother”, such a condition as she finds herself would NEVER happen, simply because, my mother is.... The People.

I am her child.

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By Outraged, June 15, 2009 at 1:01 am Link to this comment

Re: marriea

Your comment: “Medicare is now something that is handled by each individual state with some states being more liberal than others, even when it come to medication.  How will that be handled.  As each state have their own sovereignty, can the government force a state into compliance.”

Again….okay, okay,....okay.

There is medicare and medicaid (yeah, I know…. sounds almost like the same thing)  yet, they are two different things.  Medicare is a FEDERAL program, whereas MEDICAID is a state program.  Therefore, MEDICARE does NOT differ from state to state.  But…. MEDICAID does.

If you are eligible for MEDICARE, you may/might also be eligible for MEDICAID in any given state dependant upon the requirements/policies of the specific state, and they vary.  (No, I don’t know the specifics of all fifty states)

For instance, my mother….receives MEDICARE.  MEDICARE has an approx. $100.00 premium for part B, which is, for the most, drug coverage.  With her meager income she qualifies for the MEDICAID plan of her state.  The medicaid plan of her state will pay this premium for her BECAUSE her income is so low.

Wonderful, you might think….. well, yes and no.  MEDICAID says if she takes this help, then monies from the sale of her homestead will be used to REPAY any and all help she receives from MEDICAID, not MEDICARE.

So, because of the sweat and toil it was for her and my father to attain this speck of property, she does not indulge it.  This is CRIMINAL, she not only deserves the help, but NEEDS it.  THE RICH are allowed extra measure, since they can bequeath ALL their gains.  But my mother cannot.

She will do without so that she can bequeath the little they both have worked so strenuously to attain. These are the vicious and barbarian tactics levied by her state, but mine also.  Something tells me this debauchery is rampant.

A wonderful person, my mother.  If only EVERYONE were like my mother.

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By Anarcissie, June 14, 2009 at 6:41 pm Link to this comment

’... Their are some real problems in our government, first the need to rid the halls of Congress with lobbyists would be a positive starting point, then maybe selecting Congress from the ranks of people with integrity second, plus it would be nice if Congress was accountable to the people. Then what special interests and the plutocarcy?’

Well, we could have elections.  Surely the people would not vote for the sort of corrupt, venial hacks we have now, would they?

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By AWM, June 14, 2009 at 3:45 pm Link to this comment

This ones for Tristian
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least among you, you did not do for me.’”
-Matthew 25:41-45

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By TheHandyman, June 14, 2009 at 3:04 pm Link to this comment

There was post on Huffpo this week where a Democrat called out the Republiwon’ts for having a meeting with Lutz. The claim was that they hired him to help find the words and explanations to defeat healthcare reform. Then it was found out that the Demowcan’t leadership had also had a meeting with Lutz. The explanation was that the Dems wanted to know how to counter the Repugs.

The real truth is that neither party wants to do anything if possible. At the very least they want some watered down-won’t-work plan that will be underfunded and then die because, well, nothing is better than what we have presently! Greatest healthcare system in the World yada, yada! Both sides understand that should single payer happen, gasp!, they would loose the millions of dollars that the healthcareless industry gives to their campaign chests so that they can pimp for them.

I was heartened recently that because of town hall meetings in Nebraska and Montana both Nelson and Baucaus had been whistling a different tune regarding single payer. But unless the People keep supporting the single payer advocates both with money and their presence at rallies, they will get some lame assed excuse for reform. What should also happen, and he was called out on it on Maher’s program the other night, is that Obama should take a bold and forthright stance and say to the People and to Congress, this is what the People want and we are going to deliver it, now find a way to do it or expect to find yourself on the street! So far this is just one of the many things that he said he was going to “change” but so far has taken the “pragmatic” position which is code for I don’t have any principles that I would really stand up for!

Others have posted here the real numbers about the collusion between Congress and the healthcareless industry so I won’t. But check with Friday’s show and you will also see that the Health insurance industry has invested their money in one of the best all time health destroying industries in the world, the Tobacco corporations! Isn’t that intersting?

And for the proud church going guy who said Jesus meant that charity was optional, nothing I ever read even comes close to that interpretation, unless he was a closet CEO for some corporation!

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By whyzowl1, June 14, 2009 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment

The exxential atrocity is that in a captialist, for-profit health care system, the various “players” are only too happy to step over the corpses of the victims of their negligence on their way to the cash register. That’s the exxential—one, among many—“perverse incentives” of such a system: pay up, or suffer and die.

The “failures” of our system are entirely predictable, since the purpose of the system is not to provide all of the American people with the quality health care they so obviously and desperately need, but to return tidy—or, better yet, obscene—profits to the parasites who infest the system. Our system can hardly be described as “failing” in any real sense. It’s doing exactly what it’s designed to do. So long as the capitalist leeches are well fed, the system is working perfectly.

For an example of the amoral and therefore supremely immoral, callous disregard for humanity that is characteristic of the capitalist mindset, just review the comments by Tristan Roszkowski. Cold as ice.

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By Leefeller, June 14, 2009 at 9:46 am Link to this comment

What is a poor person, anyone poorer than me? Same for rich person, but anyone richer then me? It is not about rich or poor, though the manipulators will use that as one of their points, it is always money, promoting something if the dollar signs are aligned in their directions. 

Seemingly arguments designed to promote constant bickering of perceived differences, divisions so well manipulated to create constant divisive rift. 

One only need reading constant headlines as Palin and Newt slither back into the limelight, with nothing offered but divisive pandering to the ignorant. The MSM loves to write about these non issues, Gays, Abortion, Illegal aliens, religious differences and others, these non issues are used to divide people against their own best interests. Lead to believe the effects are permenat in the life of every American, seems some people need to be manipulated with divisive fear to fill their needs, provided marching orders, lemmings as zombies marching lock step to their manipulated fates.

Their are some real problems in our government, first the need to rid the halls of Congress with lobbyists would be a positive starting point, then maybe selecting Congress from the ranks of people with integrity second, plus it would be nice if Congress was accountable to the people. Then what special interests and the plutocarcy?

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By ohiolibgal, June 14, 2009 at 8:56 am Link to this comment

When you get right down to it, bribery and self interst is the sole reason single payer is meeting so much resistance in congress. Of course our corporately owned MSM is not going to report on that. It should of course, in a “free” nation. Every MSM story about Baucus arresting single payer advocates should have added that Baucus gets X amount of money from health and drug companies.

Ed Schultz got quite defensive Friday about not bringing up how much Kent Conrad gets from insurance and drug companies because he was taking a lot of heat about it from callers and emails. Ed’s excuse is that he wants to be able to retain access to Conrad. I understand that but - it’s so relevant as to why Conrad hyped up his ridiculous alternate plan.

There is no way at all that someone should have their life ruined, go bankrupt, all because they got a serious illness. It’s cruel and unusual treatment - and the leeches just get richer and keep buying off congress. We must break that cycle.

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By marriea, June 14, 2009 at 8:17 am Link to this comment

OK,Medicare can reach more people without the means to pay for private health insurance.  However, I didn’t hear or see any reference to the doctors providing this care.  I have read that more doctors are opting out of the Medicare programs because they don’t consider them cost affective for them.
If the government is willing to pay for the schooling of doctors now and in the future, this universal health plan might work.  Also what about doctors in specialized fields.  Will there be doctors under the Medicare umbrella for that?  And would these Medicare doctors be allowed NOT to provide services for something they don’t agree with, such as abortion. Will Medicare also cover things like elective procedures, like breast augmentation or reduction or plastic surgeries because a patient can claim mental distress if ‘I can’t have it’. I’m all for universal health but there are so many things that have to put into language that I haven’t seen addressed, it is unreal.
Medicare is now something that is handled by each individual state with some states being more liberal than others, even when it come to medication.  How will that be handled.  As each state have their own sovereignty, can the government force a state into compliance.  I hope it works, but I still have major concerns.

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By whyzowl1, June 13, 2009 at 10:52 pm Link to this comment

All these words! It’s a gusher! But here’s what I’m not seeing (except, I think, one mention by Kdelphi), and certainly not from the pen of a mainstream milquetoast like Joe Conason:

18,000 Americans murdered every year by the American Health Care System. 18,000 Americans a year murdered by the Health Insurance industry, by Big Pharma, by the AMA, by the “providers,” and by the paid-off politicos who do their bidding. 18,000 human beings every year murdered by capitalism.


Tristan Roszkowski,
You seem to have swallowed “The Producerist Narrative of Repressive Right Wing Populism” hook, line and sinker. Do you really want to fall for a tawdry propaganda line like that? One cooked up by wealthy scum to try to justify their sick, cold-hearted avarice? Do you?

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By Leefeller, June 13, 2009 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

So it is not really about being scared of a health plan,instead a insider feather my bed, personal connection with special interests by those who represent them, not representing the people.

Why am I not surprised? Common sense has always suggested something stinks in DC.  Who we call our representatives in Congress sleeping around with lobbyists should symbolize and define integrity DC style and the cherry on top is accountability.

It may be coming to me, is it possible Congress and especially the Senate really does not represent the people, instead they represent their pocket books? The old saying throw the bums out has some merit. On the other hand in California they do throw the bums out, with term limits and things do not seem better for it?

Corruption does seem apparent, maybe because those who run for office are corrupt to begin with? 

I remember reading about a computer programmer who was selected to run for congress in Japan by one party only because he threw his hat in the ring and seemed not to know anything about politics.  After he won, he was talking around about what a racket it was to be in Congress, because they handed him money hand over fist just for being there, nice benefits he thought it was all a joke.  Needless to say he was told to shut up. Cannot remember much more than this, but to me from where I sit, Congress does look like a racket.

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By Cathy, June 13, 2009 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment

It’s hard to know where to post this, under which article.  It could go anywhere.  Last night Bill Maher let loose on Obama in his New Rules.  Maher was over the top on Obama before the election, even while I was still lukewarm and skeptical and attempting to get over my first impression of Obama during this campaign—celebrity, rock star, slick, elite (yes, those were my impressions).  I should add that Chris Matthews was a guest and he didn’t do a lot of defending about Obama, as I thought he would (remember the tingle comment).  Earlier in the show Maher had talked about Obama “nibbling around the edges of health reform”, and then came the following gem: 

Enough with the Obamathon
The president is on TV more than the ShamWow guy, but I want to see a little more action.
By Bill Maher

And so he let loose on Obama.  When Obama was elected Stewart, Colbert and even Maher wondered what they would do for material now that Bush was no longer there.  Sadly, they didn’t have to worry. 

Here’s one paragraph that really stands out, because I was thinking the same thing this past week:

Obama needs to start putting it on the line in fights against the banks, the energy companies and the healthcare industry. I never thought I’d say this, but he needs to be more like George W. Bush. Bush was all about, “You’re with us or against us.”

So, take a sec and read this gem.  You’ll laugh and be angry at the same time.

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By KDelphi, June 13, 2009 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment

Gee—I wonder if any of THIS could have anything to do with BOTH parties being against single payer (Outraged is right—it would probably be better than the natl systems we see today—or it could be—it should be whatver WE want it to be. But it wont be because of {see below})

USAns should be thrilled to have anything even close to a Canadian system!! People are dying and going bankrupt and all these people can talk about is “hard work” and “choice”—people do NOT want “choice of industry plan—they want choice of drs and they do not have that now, unless they are rich.

You can work your entire life, be so-called middle class and lose it in a mircrosecond. I’ve seen it happen over and over again. I didnt think it would happen to me, but, I cared whether it happened to others BEFORE it happened to me, selfish fellow “consumers”. These “Representatives” must realize how stupid the USA population is…lol

Lawmakers Reveal Health-Care Investments
Key Players Have Stakes in Industry

By Paul Kane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, June 13, 2009

Almost 30 key lawmakers helping draft landmark health-care legislation have financial holdings in the industry, totaling nearly $11 million worth of personal investments in a sector that could be dramatically reshaped by this summer’s debate.

Lawmakers Reveal Health-Care Investments
Capitol Briefing: Disclosures: Kennedy’s $2 Million Book Deal, Kohl’s $5 Million Windfall, and Other Tidbits
Disclosure Report: Nancy Pelosi (pdf)
Disclosure Report: John Boehner (pdf)
Disclosure Report: Harry Reid (pdf)
Disclosure Report: Mitch McConnell (pdf)

The list of members who have personal investments in the corporations that will be affected by the legislation—which President Obama has called this year’s highest domestic priority—includes Congress’s most powerful leaders and a bipartisan collection of lawmakers in key committee posts. Their total health-care holdings could be worth $27 million, because congressional financial disclosure forms released yesterday require reporting of only broad ranges of holdings rather than precise values of assets.

Read the article—if it doesnt open your eyes, nothing will…

Here is a chart that shows the shame of Harman, Kerry, etc.

Jane Harman—$7.7 million

John Yarmuth (Ky)$5 million in his brother’s insurance co…jeez..

John Kerry—$9.8 million

Pelosi—Starbucks, VISA, Johnson & Johnson,Avalon Pharmaceuticals,all kinds or commercial investment properties,Bank of America,GE, Wells Fargo,

I’m grinding my teeth down (which I cant afford to fix) just reading this and hearing her say, in my head, “well, we’re not going to get single payer..”.

John Boner (he answers to that name—try it!)He trades in small caps and other funds so much , its almost impossible to track…

Harry Reid: Wells Fargo, Cook Co Comm HS (charter schools , who knows)ALL KINDS of “schools”—for investment??..whatever,Reid Lmt Proft-Sharing Plans,Dow Jones Industrial Sector, (Basic Materials Sector, on and on)Reid Family Trusts, mining corps of various kinds,

McConnell:BlackRock, Merrill Lynch,Vanguard,SOLD frop Lehman to Barclays (!! can you say insider trading!!)), T. Rowe Price Blue Chip (and more),“Real property with ‘carriage house’ rental in DC—over $15,000 in “rent”,Dreyfuss, Franklin, First Eagle,

Jeez!! I started out looking at health care related investments and found so much more. I have a headache…

We’re screwed.
If single payer is “off the table”, this is why.The “bailout”—this is why. Mining anywhere and everywhere—this is why.

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By cilcsster, June 13, 2009 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment

Whoever it was that wrote that Canadians don’t work…who do you think invented and makes all the Blackberry products in the world, or all the police cruisers in North American?  Canadians that’s who! If Americans won’t listen to their friends like the ones in the Great White North, things are in a sorry state indeed!

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By Leefeller, June 13, 2009 at 6:10 am Link to this comment


Seems the need for more research about the different plans is in order, without the manipulators and opportunists preferred. For some reason I thought single payer was off the table?

Outraged, thanks for the insight, I will check out your links and keep tabs on this issue as well as I can.

Anything would be better than what we now have, it seems the insurance companies are gleaning quite heavily off the top.  Seems one is always trying to see through muddy waters, becomes business as usual.

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By Outraged, June 13, 2009 at 12:23 am Link to this comment

Post 3.

Obama cont:
“Now, how this debate is evolving in Washington, unfortunately sometimes kind of falls into the usual politic. So what you’ve heard is some folks on the other side saying, “I’m opposed to a public option because that’s going to lead to government running your health care system.” Now, I don’t know how clearly I can say this, but let me try to repeat it: If you’ve got health insurance that you’re happy with through the private sector, then we’re not going to force you to do anything. All we’re saying is for the 46 million people who don’t have health insurance, or for people who’ve got health insurance, like you, who are self-employed but the premiums and the deductibles are so high that you almost never get prevention services—you’ve put off going to a doctor until you’re really sick because of the out-of-pocket expenses—let’s change some of those incentives so that we get more people getting prevention, more people getting health care to keep them healthy, as opposed to just treating them when they get sick.”

So I find those “claiming” to be “Canadian” enamoring us with their “socialized medicine”..... well…. questionable.  Mainly because, SINGLE PAYER IS NOT SOCIALIZED MEDICINE!  And none other than “our old favorites”, those we (by their mantra) love to hate, the right-wing blowhards ..... are spewing this “socialized medicine” mantra.  It makes ME wonder….yep, that it does, that it does.

But I need to unload, forgive me…simply a necessary “evil”.  I totally endorse Lefeller regarding this, “my life sucks…and I’m proud of it” mantra from Tristan Roszkowski… this sad or comical, depends on your mood, I guess.

I interpret Mr. Roszkowski’s premise to mean, “I hate my life and the world would be a better place if you hated yours TOO (o—k—a—y)....and, that “if I can find a way to put words in Jesus’ mouth, damn it, I’ll do it!..... to hell with the facts when they completely disrupt my worldview!”

Mr. Roszkowski, discernment and knowledge are not against ANY religion.  You should giver’ a go…. taker’ out for a spin…. or at least consider that not everyone is a sadist.

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By Outraged, June 13, 2009 at 12:22 am Link to this comment

Post 2.

“Thank you for the great question.

Let me just talk about some of the different options that are out there, because sometimes there’s been confusion in the press and the public, and people use, you know, politics in talking about the issue. There are some folks who say, “socialized medicine.” You hear that all the time, “socialized medicine.” Well, socialized medicine would mean that the government would basically run all of health care. They would hire the doctors, they would run the hospitals. They would just run the whole thing. Great Britain has a system of socialized medicine.

Nobody is talking about doing that, all right? So when you hear people saying, “socialized medicine,” understand I don’t know anybody in Washington who is proposing that, certainly not me.

Socialized medicine is different from a single-payer plan. Now, the way a single-payer plan works is that you still have private doctors, private hospitals, providers, et cetera, but everything is reimbursed through a single payer; usually, the government. So Medicare would be an example of a single-payer plan. Doctors don’t work for Medicare, but Medicare reimburses for services that are provided to seniors who are on Medicare.

There have been proposals to have, essentially, Medicare for all, a single-payer plan for all Americans, and—that person likes it. (Laughter.) And there are some appealing things to a single-payer plan, and there are some countries where that’s worked very well.

Here is the thing: We’re not starting from scratch. We’ve already got—because of all kinds of historical reasons, we have primarily an employer-based system that uses private insurers alongside a Medicare plan for people above a certain age; and then you’ve got Medicaid for folks who are very poor and don’t have access to health care. So we’ve got sort of a patchwork system. And it was my belief and continues to be my belief that whatever we might do if we were just starting from scratch, that it was important in order to get it done politically, but also to minimize disruptions to families that we start with what we have, as opposed to try to completely scrap the system and start all over again.

And so what my attitude was if you’ve got an employer-based system—and a lot of people still get their health insurance through their jobs—obviously, you’re self-employed, so there’s a different category, but the majority of people still get their health insurance through their employer. Rather than completely disrupt things for them, my attitude is let them keep the health insurance that they’ve got, the doctors that they have—there’s still a role for private insurance—but number one, let’s have insurance reform so that you can’t eliminate people for preexisting conditions—(applause)—so that there’s none of the cherry picking that’s going on to try to just get the healthiest people insured and get rid of the sick people. So you’ve got to set up some rules for how insurance companies operate.

Number two, that for people who are self-employed, for small businesses, for others, they should have an option that they can go to if they can’t get insurance through the private marketplace. That’s why I’ve said that I think a public option would make sense. What that then does is it gives people a choice. If they’re happy with what they’ve got, if they’re employed by somebody who provides them with good health care, you can keep it, you don’t have to do anything. But if you don’t have health insurance, then you have an option available to you.


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By Outraged, June 13, 2009 at 12:22 am Link to this comment

Post 1.

SINGLE PAYER HEALTH CARE is not socialized health care.  Repeat….single payer IS NOT SOCIALIZED MEDICINE!  It’s better that that.

From Daily Kos:

“Socialized medicine is a system in which the government owns the means of providing medicine. Britain is an example of socialized system, as, in America, is the Veterans Health Administration. In a socialized system, the government employs the doctors and nurses, builds and owns the hospitals, and bargains for and purchases the technology. I have literally never heard a proposal for converting America to a socialized system of medicine. And I know a lot of liberals.

Single-payer health care is not socialized medicine. It’s a system in which one institution purchases all, or in reality, most, of the care. But the payer does not own the doctors or the hospitals or the nurses or the MRI scanners. Medicare is an example of a mostly single-payer system, as is France. Both of these systems have private insurers to choose from, but the government is the dominant purchaser…”

(Great article with many links to additional information…. a must read.)

Obama while in Green Bay the other day ( I myself, was unaware of his appearance, damn…damn… and damn.  I definitely would have attempted to get a ticket…..sometimes life just “does ya’ wrong”..... and ouch, that hurts.  He was right there…., right there.... at my “kinda” alma mater….lol, I am not happy I missed that…groan, piss and moan…rrrrrr.)  Anyway, he had this to say:

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By Leefeller, June 12, 2009 at 5:13 pm Link to this comment


Thanks much for the information. As for life expectancy in the USA, could it be factoids such as Tristan Roszkowski states, “This is a land of work hard, be smart and you can provide for yourself and your family”. So is sounds like in the minds of some, they are the only people who work hard and are smart too, which means providing for yourself?

From such comments, one can perceive Canadians never work hard, are not smart and do not provide for them selves and their families, or anyone else in the mind of the poster, it seems from the comment? 

Tristan also said: “we know that all government funded activities actually cost money and that this is not the land of make believe and lollipops and sunshine”.  So again, we can say according to Triston, Canada is make believe and composed of lollipops and sunshine? 

As Tristan uses the more than one person “we”, one can assume their is a frog in his pocket?

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By RobertinWestbury, June 12, 2009 at 4:11 pm Link to this comment

Thanks to Bill for putting it in such perspective.  I have long supported having a nationalized (socialized if you will) healthcare system.  We have public utilities and public services that have benefitted us well.  Public health would also. 

I’ve read many claims of Canadians not having sufficient coverage in their healthcare system.  All of them from the propoganda of those opposing socialized medicine. 

I’ve never actually heard a Canadian voice any complaint or criticism of it.

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By PatrickHenry, June 12, 2009 at 2:39 pm Link to this comment

We are awaiting a national health care bill and the congress is debating taxing our existing benefits.  How like Washington.

My local union is urging us to write the following:

Representative Steny Hoyer
U.S. House of Representatives
1705 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-0001

Dear Representative Hoyer,

Access to health care coverage is a major problem in America.  There are now many proposals being considered which will bring long overdue relief to millions of American families.

Taxing the health care benefits of working families as income is not one of them. It would increase the cost of health care and lead many employers to stop providing health benefits altogether, making the health care problem in America worse.

A tax on health care benefits targets middle-class families made up of middle-income Americans who are already struggling to pay their health care costs.

I urge you to vote no to a tax on health care benefits which will do nothing to solve the health care crisis in America.

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By AWM, June 12, 2009 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment

Here are some facts that Tristan Roszkowski may not like Canadaian manufacturers enjoy an estimated $8hr advantage on labour costs over their US counterparts.Canada spends approx.10% of gdp on healthcare while covering everyone the US 16% with about 46 mil uncovered. Canada also out scores the US in infant mortality rates,life expectancy and injury recovery So it seems to me that single payer makes better business sense than the system you defend.And by the way i made 49k last year and payed less than 30% in income tax and in Ontario taxes on business are actually lower than in many states As for china I suggest you actually do a little research you could start by finding out what happens to our old computers As for their standard of living China has embraced the neocon model if you are connected to the party you do quite well the rest of the population are nothing more than slaves

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By Leefeller, June 12, 2009 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

Tristan Roszkowski,

Interesting perspectives and opinions, though completely missing the point, National Health Care is not about the poor, it is about everyone.

Using China’s 40 percent unemployment figure, has nothing to do with anything, except maybe if one compares it to the USA now edging the 20 percent unemployment figure.

As for production, Norway is one of the most productive nations in the world, and has health care.

I know, we do not live in Norway, nor do we live in China.

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By KDelphi, June 12, 2009 at 1:55 pm Link to this comment

ohiolibgal (from another one)

I have been treated in Canada and three EU countries. They have a reason for lying—its called MONEY.

I hope that the US doesnt prove, once again, that the people of the EU, Camad, Japan, etc, are all alot brighter than we are, but I’m afraid that they will.

This has been going on for so many years, perhaps its the chemicals they put in our drinking water…it must remove the “reason’

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By ohiolibgal, June 12, 2009 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment

I am always suspicious of these awful stories about Canada (or France or wherever) - everyone I’ve ever heard from Canada loves their health care. I’m not sure where freepers and others come up with this stuff like a 50% tax rate , but it’s all about scaring people, the truth be damned, so the dreadful status quo stays in place - with everyone lining their pockets except the people and increasingly health care professionals.

If enough democrats continue to carry water for the lobbyists therefore enabling congress to stop any kind of meaningful health care reform watch out, I think there will be a long hot summer unlike anything since the 60’s. More and more people are connecting the dots, Harry and Louise trickery will not work this time.

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By Davol, June 12, 2009 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’d like to propose something we can do in the meantime that will obtain the leverage we need to get the health care reform we deserve from these Congressmen and Senators obviously hell-bent on selling the American people out on this and screwing US further.  These politicians already get the best healthcare our tax dollars can buy, which has me taken aback that they won’t allow anything like single-payer or public option on the table.  Here’s what we need to do.  Start a movement immediately to have put on the ballot of the next Federal election in 2010 to take the socialized medicine that our positions enjoy away from them, and make them pay for their healthcare just like all of the rest of US.  First of all, it’s great payback especially if they screw us over on this reform.  Second of all, it’s actually fair, and left to the votes of the American people, every politician knows damn good and well their free healthcare will be finished if this gets on the ballot.  And third, and most important, just having this being considered for the 2010 ballot will finally put the necessary fear of the people into these corporate insurance butt-kissers.  Therefore I predict if we do this they’ll deliver US some real healthcare reform really quick.  So let’s get this Remove Socialized medicine for Politicians movement off the ground and get busy.

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By JohnJ, June 12, 2009 at 12:49 pm Link to this comment
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We receive high-quality, dependable, essential service from “socialist” agencies every day: our gas, electricity and water utilities.

Regulated public utilities are as American as Apple Pie. They deliver “goods” that society has deemed too important to leave to the vagaries of the market. Why can’t health care be delivered the same way?

Non-profit HMO’s like Kaiser, state & county health programs, and Medicare have already blazed this trail.

Let’s do it… and let’s invite all of Ayn Rand’s “producers” to emigrate to Australia, where they can use all their superior qualities to build a Free-Market Fantasyland in the Outback.

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By cilcsster, June 12, 2009 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment

Tristan, you said “this is not Canada”.  How much do you know about Canada anyway?  You also said “50% of your income in taxes to the govt.”.  I paid $46 in income tax this year, hardly the 50% you speak of.  Why don’t you get your facts straight!

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By KDelphi, June 12, 2009 at 12:18 pm Link to this comment

If health care (and, I would say, food, water, shelter, etc) are human rights, it should have nothing to do with “work”. Just this idea is, in itself, extremely prejudicial towards those who cannot work, as well as setting people up for having to PROVE that “they cannot work"in order to recieve the “charitable benefits” (and I’ve already said how I feel about so-called “charity”. (See:
“They offer charity instead of justice”
By Paul D’Amato
..for more, see

Most people that I know are not rich, and, many work very hard. It is much more a matter of birth and luck. The myth of the ‘Merkins self-made man is just that. The only way to become extremely wealthy in this country is to leave your conscience at the door. Anyone who still believes that laissez-fare Capitalism works, must be wealthy or not recently educated.

Yet, it is true that the uS has the worst of both worlds—Socialism for the rich, Capitalism, with no regs, for the poor.

The UN agrees with me , as to human rights,as do leaders of ALL civilized countries. No one asked to be born. (Its actually quite a shame that we even have to argue for these basic human rights, when we have the wealthiest people in the world living here, who have achieved their wealth under the most questionable means possible)

It is amazing. A person has to have had an extremely sheltered life, not to see what has happened to this country.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 says this:

Article 25.
(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

Further, “Subsistence as A Social Right” (read more at this site)

“...It is through human activity that our identities are constructed. Activity that is undertaken in a community brings forth a social representation of its value that makes identity social—that puts it into relation with other actors and their activities. When we understand human activity as that which produces subsistence, or concrete well-being, its connexion to sustainability becomes clear. Unsustainable practices are tolerated because those who initiate them do not have to live with their consequences. Resources are depleted, natural cycles are violated, for reasons defined outside of a given community. If the profit goes out of the community, the sustainability of the enterprise ceases to be an issue. But communities must live with the consequences of their actions; they have nowhere else to go, unless they simply cease to exist. Thus, economic activity, and markets, become destructive when they cease to be local, that is, based in a community which both reaps the rewards and lives with the consequences”...

If you disagree with this, please be kind enough to explain why, without CAPS and !!!!!!!!!!!!

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By Tristan Roszkowski, June 12, 2009 at 8:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Leefeller, we’re not Canada.  Our country was not founded by people who believe we should pay 50% of our income in taxes to the government to allocate how they please.  It is not that conservatives believe that “I got mine, f you.”  It is that we think charitable activites should be a choice for Americans and that we should be able to decide who we give our money to and for what reason.  It is that we know that all government funded activities actually cost money and that this is not the land of make believe and lollipops and sunshine.

This is a land of work hard, be smart and you can provide for yourself and your family.  Give a man a fish for a day and he’ll be full.  Teach a man to fish and he’ll be fed for life. 

No offense to Canada but our reputation as a producer country and the amount of money we have made as a country should be evidence enough that our lower taxation, smaller government way of life HAS WORKED to improve everyone’s quality of living. 

China is a perfect example here.  Under communism they had a 40%+ poverty rate.  When China opened pockets of the country to capitalism, their poverty rate has now dropped in those parts to 4%.  I can’t remember the exact numbers, look it up, they are out there and provable just by the consumer index which has skyrocketed in China now that the standard of living is going up there. 

There will always be poor people and thus, always a human struggle for improvement.  Socialism fails because the more you take from your producers to give to your non-producers, the less motivation non-producers have to become producers, and the less producers feel like producing because it does nothing to support their own family’s interests and their own community’s interests. 

If government wants to help with health insurance, open up the insurance companies to work across state lines so there is more competition.  Instead of giving your employer a tax benefit to cover you in a plan, give the tax benefit to you instead so you can choose a health plan online against 20-100 other plans.  The more competition that goes into the market, the slimmer the insurance companies profits become as they lower pricing to get more business. Don’t think it works this way?  I manage apartments.  The more supply on the market, the lower my rents go.  My profit margin right now is non-existent because my market is thoroughly saturated. This is a renter’s or buyer’s dream market because of this.  This is the beauty of capitalism.  It will work perfectly if the government stays out of it. 

Now, if people on here really want to help the poor so much, then write your Congressman and offer up another 10-20% of your household income to put into a pool so that all poor people in the country can have health care coverage.  Or, you could donate that much money to your church and talk to your pastor/priest about using it to fund medically necessary procedures for disadvantaged people in your community.  Why do “free” things for all need to be forced just by some?  Who are you to decide that my money or Warren Buffett’s money or a teacher’s money or a small business owner’s money would be better off in the hands of government?  With 1000’s of not for profits across the US, hundreds of thousands of churches out there who give away 90% of what they take in, can you not have some faith that people will provide for others in their community who are truly in need?  Who truly cannot help themselves?  Can’t you just decide to live a much smaller standard of living yourself and give more money to help those you worry so much about as to force everyone to sacrifice to the government for them?

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By sarah, June 12, 2009 at 7:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We need a massive community eduation effort to counter the lies being told about Single Payer.  Most people are still unclear on the concept.  If they understood, they’d be demanding SinglePayer NOW.

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By herewegoagain, June 12, 2009 at 7:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Tristan writes: “Jesus believed charity was a choice.”

You quote me where in the Bible Jesus said that. Sounds to me like something your “prosperity preacher” told you. 

You also quote me anywhere in the Bible Jesus said taxes were stealing.

I suggest you read the Sermon on the Mount and the story of Jesus throwing the money-changers out of the temple. But if you attend a megachurch where they sell a bunch of trinkets, you might not want to!

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By Leefeller, June 12, 2009 at 6:20 am Link to this comment

How many time has one heard, over and over again something like this “I work hard for my money and I do not want to pay for all those lazy slackers out there to have medical insurance”.  With cloned consistency, it sounds as if these people are suggesting that everyone in Canada is a slacker and most of the posters here are slackers. Guess we can suppose nobody works hard except those who proclaim to work hard?

Is it wrong to perceive them as saying,  I got mine F…. You?

Congress has a great medical plan, maybe we can all can have a plan like theirs? Of course Congress has worked hard for their medical plan, but no one else in the country has.  Government workers have medical plans, and they also work harder than everyone else.  How does one become one of the self proclaimed special work hard crowd besides placing ones head where the sun dost shine? 

According to some of the work harder than everyone else mental misfits, also know as the ones who say “I got mine”, eveyone who supports a National medical health plan, is supposidly and automatically not a person who works hard.  It is known, Health Plan supporters are slackers, the lazy people who lay around and eat bonbons all day while watching soaps.

As one of those lazy slacker who does not work hard, I must also not be paying enough for the lousy medical plan I do have.  Guess I should pay more and then I would not receive the constant junk mail updates, from my hard working insurer on the long list of what they will not cover?

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By UpCraigCreek, June 12, 2009 at 6:07 am Link to this comment

Here’s the text of a letter the NYTimes didn’t publish:

If one could point to a root cause of the sickness of
the US health care system, it might be the greed of the American Medical Association.  For decades, they stood between reformers, including Richard Nixon, and
some resemblance of a national plan.  This greed made the system so wealthy that it could not resist attack by parasites of various kinds: lawyers, insurance companies, and drug companies.  One might have hoped that enough doctors would recognize the monstrosity their organization helped build, and bring support for a national plan.
Today’s article by Robert Pear shows
it isn’t so.  Possibly the truly compassionate physicians are simply pushed aside by powerful and avaricious leaders of their Association.  I hope the AMA serves some useful purposes, because their opposition to a national health plan is a disgrace.

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By KDelphi, June 11, 2009 at 11:54 pm Link to this comment

Tristan—ever heard of paragraphs??? I took catechism and you have no idea “what jesus meant”...if you dont care what happens to the poor, you are just a phoney “christian”.

I have lived in a Socialist Democracy, and, if I had known that the uS was going to go christo-fascist, I would have stayed. I cant afford to go now—they took my pension.

I didnt choose to be born here. I think the “founding fathers” were a bunch of bloody anglo criminals.

Give me my pensions money back and I will be in Scandanavoia tomorrow!

I am so sick of hearing people say that they “worked their ass off” as if people who are poor havent…you just got lucky, cause it sure aint your brains.,..

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By Twin Towers, June 11, 2009 at 11:52 pm Link to this comment


Since it works effective in France and some other countries, obviously, the big challenge in the U.S. will be to learn how to MAKE government administration effective. It is the result of laxity, lack of enforcement and horrible supervision. There is no excuse for postal services, military or Amtrak, to name a few, to be anything but efficient and set the standard. Performance is damned easy to enforce by setting laws.

Same goes for the proposed single-payer system. Only a chump would think otherwise. Keep it simple, stupid. Fair pay for a fair day’s work, from top to bottom. Make it a job that people compete for, fairly. Unless it is a carefully review merit system, people will resent it. No free lunches. Training, certification and routine performance tests and reviews. Make it something people compete to gain. It is not the government, it is the politics. No quotas, just have hard tests and qualifications and be very, very fair and but firm.

Only a few qualify for military pilot training, best of the best, but they must perform or they are removed. There must be a revolution in demanding better performance and fair but challenging selection.

There are too many cases like the one with the firefighters in Conn. who took the test but the results were thrown out. That simply destroys any future goodwill in that department.

Do the right thing. Shape up or ship out.

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By Tahut, June 11, 2009 at 10:47 pm Link to this comment

How can one say they have health insurance if the policy is dependent upon you not being ill? If you don’t believe me, then ask anyone over 50 what they have to pay for private health insurance. It’s 3 to 4 times the average premium payment because insurance companies have convinced state governments that people over 50 have more life problems that are costly to treat. Yet, insurance is a pooled resource. Those who are in good health that don’t require much treatment support those who do. In short, all the money paid into the insurance is a pooled resource for all, not just a single individual. Besides, there is no way anyone could possibly insure themselves against any know health issue that may occur during their life. Health insurance is suppose to cover life’s problems as they occur as we grow older. So either the insurance companies clean up their act an accept any and all people within their ranks and unconditional cover any and all life problems that occur regardless of shareholder equity and profit or let the government enter the playing field and show them a new business model on how to run their business profitably as well as ensuring their clients are well cared for if they require medical services.

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By rockinrobin, June 11, 2009 at 10:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

PUBLIC PERCEPTION: it is NOT a 2 party system folks! It is ONE: with the AGENDA being to TARGET & HARM us the PEOPLE; SHATTER the vision our forefathers had! EXPLOITATION is the TARGETING and HARMING for THEIR personal profit & GAIN! STOP telling us to LOVE this criminally run Gov who gives themselves immunity for EVERYTHING and JUDGES who go along with the shifting laws! STOP telling us to LOVE SLAVERY to Corp & INDIVIDUAL POLITICAL GREED! or LEAVE This country!
THERE IS NO JUSTICE in the USA; war on drugs? GIVE me a BREAK! good ol Rockefeller wrote laws; then they BRIBED innocents, and PUT THEM IN JAIL to “make it APPEAR that there was a “war on drugs”; TRUTH is they BRING IT INTO THE COUNTRY! THREE downed CIA planes FULL of DRUGS; US MARSHALLS caught with DRUGS; every city: all the TOP drug dealers have had to do to get IMMUNITY is to PAY (bribe) COPS and pay $ to HOSPITALS; Keeping it all at the TOP: trickle down effect: it is SLAVERY. And EVERY NATION KNOWS this EXCEPT the PEOPLE of the USA;; NO GOV AGENCY is DOING THE WORK it is being paid VERY LARGE SUMS of money to do;
Leno’s neighbor $28,000 to FIX a BROKEN ARM? they INFLATED the BILL for GREED; you cannot FILE BANKRUPTCY for MEDICAL; ++++++++THIS IS EXACTLY what they did to homes, and land folks; and thru “laws” rules & regulations forced millions of folks out of business for GREED. You will buy ONLY from them; and it will contain chemicals to HARM you; pay us MONEY or we will run a SMEAR CAMPAIGN on you in the MEDIA is what they told organic food folks; DDT is SOLD in other countries under a different name; NO environmental laws are being followed. They put the LAWS on the BOOKS for LOOKS: that the PEOPLE want; and then IGNORE them; Told CHINA whom they work CLOSELY with dispite the MEDIA LIES to do the SAME.
They have BRIBED the HEADS of CANADA, AUSTRALIA, MEXICO & many more to “cooperate” with them; as THEY have the CULTURE; they have SUCCESSFULLY gotten AWAY with it for YEARS! Have ALL THE MONEY you want for YOU, FRIENDS, and FAMILY: just like they told Saddam Hussain when they SET HIM UP: do whatever you want and NEVER be BROUGHT to JUSTICE; THAT is IT folks.
PEOPLE are not even RECOGNIZED nor do you have ANY rights at all: until you are a Corporation; THEN you are RECOGNIZED and THEN you have RIGHTS. THIS is what is KNOWN as “democracy”; THIS is why it is the most despised name on the planet.

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By nestoffour, June 11, 2009 at 8:56 pm Link to this comment


well said. thank you.

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By Thomas Billis, June 11, 2009 at 7:16 pm Link to this comment

Joe Joe Joe you are trying to counter bullshit with facts.There are no logical answers to what you have laid out.So they go about making up facts.They go about labeling it as socialism.Then they bribe their lackey’s in the congress to repeat the same claptrap.Joe we have a true test of the intelligence of the American people.Let us see which way they go.

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By AWM, June 11, 2009 at 6:22 pm Link to this comment

ohiolibgal says only in America sadly the situation is much worse. the ruling elite and their propaganda arm also known as the msm have done a stellar job of brainwashing the masses in every western nation into acting against their own best interests.Until people wake up to the fact that they are being manipulated justice for the common person is unattainable

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By rockinrobin, June 11, 2009 at 5:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dr Louis Ignarro, NOBEL PRIZE WINNER: never heard of him at all have you? yet his DISCOVERIES include making bypass surgery, angloplasty, & blood pressure pills obsolete. QUAKE? NOT at ALL; our GOV is the QUACK folks: it is NOT a 2 party system at all; nor even a democracy; it is a CRIMINALLY RUN operation cuz EXPLOITATION which they CLAIM is how “democracy” works: is a CRIME. Monsanto, Agent orange/Bush/Clinton/Rockefeller/pharmacia & MORE: all connected & it has NOTHING to do with population control rather with PURPOSELY POISONING with MALICIOUS INTENT the PEOPLE for PROFIT for THEMSELFS; manipulating the MEDIA (if you don’t pay us $ we will do a SMEAR CAMPAIGN on you!) EXTORTION; MISLEAD, DECEIVE, INFLATE prices: working WELL with Corps as they TARGET and HARM the PUBLIC; follow the MONEY TRAIL folks; when ASKED Rush L stated “the people must have a choice” in order of course to MISLEAD and DECEIVE them; what is YOUR PERCEPTION of the USA?
Let me SHARE with you the REALITY & TRUTH: get up in AM; take a shower: water is LOADED with PILLS from Rockefeller & Monsanto (bush clinton & all others) as your SKIN is the LARGEST ORGAN to HARM you with; brush your teeth LOADED with CHEMICALS; mouthwash same; bath soap, same; ALL of it is for ONE SINGLE PURPOSE: it gives THEM money when chemicals are used; it gives them MORE money when your HEALTH is compromised; docs offices are PAID to meet prescription quotas & the $4.00 generics give them 600,000 xs the PROFIT; gosh, wonder what the PROFIT was just from the MEDS prior to GENERICS????
THIS is NOT NORMAL folks; your REFRIG is ALL CHEMICALLY TREATED more $ for THEM when chemicals used; more $ for them when YOU & your loved ones get ill; oh, & BTW, they wrote a LAW that your insurance coverage STOPS the moment you get ill;
EVERYONE in the WORLD knows the TRUTH about the USA & the CRIMINALLY RUN GOV; with the PEOPLE enslaved to CORPS thru MISUSE and ABUSE of MEDIA, LAWS & MORE: NO AREA of your LIFE is NOT affected by chemicals to STEAL your health; THIS is the reason that there has never been a health plan in the USA; It EFFECTS their own POCKETBOOKS.
Feel like a LAB RAT??? you SHOULD!

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By yours truly, June 11, 2009 at 5:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Big Pharma & Insurance are afraid of a government plan because it knows that as soon as Single Payer is available, that’ll be it for privatized health insurance.  Good riddence too, because the difference between 2% and 27-40% overhead amounts to a hell of a lot of health care.  Oh, but that’s not the American way, the insurance industry & its for hire congresspersons & senators will insist.  Hey, privateers, remember the one about “Doesn’t matter whether the cat’s black or white, so long as it catches the mouse?”  Turns out that Deng Xiaoping’s famous adage goes both ways, from government run to privatized when it’s a matter of production, and vice versa when the concern is health care for all.  What matters most to us Americans, ideology or our own well being?  Looks like we’re about to find out.

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By ohiolibgal, June 11, 2009 at 4:28 pm Link to this comment

Only in America - the fact that there is any resistance to single payer from anyone not very well heeled is amazing. Also amazing is that a well known GOP senator would have the gall to actually recently say we had the best health care system in the world. That’s a man who is a total liar or one completely shut off from reality.

One thing that make me cringe now is hearing Obama and others talk about a public plan competing against private for profit insurance. The public plan would have to be almost worthless if the cost is even in the same universe as the for profit people.

It’s time to do it and I don’t mean Conrad’s lame co-op idea. There are any number of ways single payer could be paid for, we just might have to clip a few bucks from people who can easily afford it - like raising the top tax rate to just half of what it was under Eisenhower. They don’t have the votes? - then get the votes, play hardball, the time is now.

Oh, and right now I would make it illegal for anyone playing the socialist card to drive on the roads or use the library or schools, all are socialist. Also anyone saying Canada’s system sucks should actually talk to folks from up there first, they would overwhelningly beg to differ.

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By PatrickHenry, June 11, 2009 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment

Damn italics gremlin.

I recommend everyone watch Michael Moores “Sicko” regarding health care if you haven’t already.

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By Nam Vet 66, June 11, 2009 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Those against a private plan are Insurance companies and the Pharmacutacla companie. I had a private plan under the postal service. Better than any for profit plan around. The plan the President is talking about
is a plan that people by for themselves. Either a private or a for Profit plan Private will allways win, big insurance is to greedy.

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By Russian Paul, June 11, 2009 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment

The thing that scares me the most about this reform is that it seems Americans will be “forced” to buy health insurance or they will be fined. Forced health insurance is NOT reform! We need single payer, the majority of people support it, and Conason doesn’t even mention it in this slimy article. The only silver lining is what Kdelphi is saying, maybe this plan will collapse under its own bureaucratic heft and perhaps then single payer will be more seriously considered.

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By KDelphi, June 11, 2009 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment

Sen. Lamar Alexander just “slipped” and said, “..we on the Republican—and the Democratic side…”. So the “other side” is the people, their supposed constituents.

He got that right for once!

There is anly one sad value in implementing this “public option”—it will explode , with bureacratic overrun within a few years. Then, perhaps “our” “representaties” will have to finally admit that ‘Merkins are no different from the rest of the world and prefer not to die unnecessarily…

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By Tristan Roszkowski, June 11, 2009 at 2:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


I do go to church and am proud of it.  It is sad that you think to insult me by saying that.  Jesus believed charity was a choice.  No one can be forced to be charitable.  Of course the non-producers of society think free health care is great.  If they don’t work for it (I’m a property manager, not rich by any means but health care is included in the package I work my behind off for) and strive to better themselves to get it, then it’s a wonderful thing to free ride off the taxes of others.  And, by the way, history is on my side, silly.  Check out the PURITANS who actually made America what it is today.  They started off as a collective society and decided it didn’t work so they formed a free market society instead.  How about you actually talk to some people who lived under socialism and see what they have to say about it?  I happen to know several people who have and they all vote conservative at the polls.  They all know that free stuff from the government is never free and when you bet that the government is there to help you, you’re betting that your government consists of good moral people.  When the government is not made up of good, moral people, you get situations like Nazi Germany where the people trusted the government to take care of them during a deep recession and the government chose to exterminate about 10 million people.  Limited government exists in the Constitution for a reason, because man cannot be trusted with concentrated power.  It corrupts absolutely.  Those who have a problem with insurance company profits, who are you?!?  All businesses need to profit to stay in existence.  The real problem with insurance is not enough competition.  When profits get high enough, new players enter the game to get a slice which brings costs down.  Do you know America used to have over 100 car companies?  We lost the majority due to competition and more people can now afford cars because there are enough players in the game to keep costs down.  Do you like your food cheap?  Price controls from the government raise prices, check your history.  Allowing multiple farmers to produce and produce and produce brings the costs down for your food.  Limiting competition brings prices up.  Capitalism got ugly because government got involved.  Members on both sides of the line in Congress pushed Affordable Housing and giving out loans to people that couldn’t afford them because that was a nice, moral thing to do.  The problem is capitalist banking works that you only extend loans to people that can actually afford to pay in the long run through good times and bad.  Want to place blame?  Point the blame at the Clinton administration who opened up the bank’s books to too much leveraging.  Then on to the Bush administration that continued it and didn’t step in hard enough to reign it back.  And, Kdelphi, I didn’t hear you once address the COSTS of publicly funded healthcare.  How much more in taxes are we going to have to pay?  Where in OUR CONSTITUTION does it say the government will use our tax money to pay for publicly funded healthcare?  Use some facts here, not feelings for once.  If people don’t like the America we have, Constitution, Bill of Rights, GO TO ANOTHER COUNTRY!  Live somewhere else.  Why live here if you don’t agree with the founding principles of our country?  If you want to change us into Europe or Canada, do us a favor and MOVE THERE!

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By van mungo, June 11, 2009 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment

There are droves of well-meaning people touting a “public option” without any clue about what that might be. Most seem to imagine it would be some kind of Medicare clone that would be so attractive that it would wipe out the private insurers. Well . . . guess again. It’s likely to be a clone of the private insurers with a phony “public” branding designed to gull the credulous while achieving it’s real objective: keeping most of the system in the hands of the rapacious private insurers.

The first inkling of the details of the public option came about a month ago from the repugnant Chuck Schumer, who devised the scheme at the behest of the equally repugnant Max Baucus. Here are the devilish details, according to The New York Times:
“The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, asked Mr. Schumer to seek a solution. In his response, Mr. Schumer set forth these principles:

The public plan must be self-sustaining. It should pay claims with money raised from premiums and co-payments. It should not receive tax revenue or appropriations from the government.

The public plan should pay doctors and hospitals more than what Medicare pays. Medicare rates, set by law and regulation, are often lower than what private insurers pay.

The government should not compel doctors and hospitals to participate in a public plan just because they participate in Medicare.

To prevent the government from serving as both “player and umpire,” the officials who manage a public plan should be different from those who regulate the insurance market.”

In other words, a guaranteed-to-fail farce that would replicate all the worst features of private insurance and offer none of the cost-savings or coverage expansion of the single risk pool of true single payer.

It’s time for progressives to stop being played for fools by the K-street sharpies who are trying to put lipstick on this pig of a private system. The only real reform is single payer—anything else will be a sham and a scam. See

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By davol, June 11, 2009 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment

Will we be served health care for profit or for honor?  The health insurance industry has already failed America, and I already can’t afford any of that.  I’m kind of afraid that they will pass health care reform and force me to pay for some overpriced solution that will actually drag more Americans to bankruptcy than solve any problem of Americans going bankrupt for visiting a hospital.  I really hope I’m wrong about that, but I’m sick of hearing this argument that we need to be fair to the insurance industry, or that a public option isn’t fair to insurance companies.  F@#K insurance companies!!!  Well aren’t paybacks a bitch.  Poor insurance companies, oh my hearts bleeding for them.  What a crock!  Health insurance industry be damned.  I thought my government already purchased AIG, the largest provider of health insurance in America, so we already have the health insurance industry by the balls and our government is already in the health insurance business.  It seems nobody wants to bear the failure of awful policies as long as they can use the taxpayers for chumps.  I say let the insurance companies be the chumps, and go down with their own failure.  I’m not going to loose a second of sleep over a bankrupt and failed insurance industry.  The whole world knows the failure of our health care system better than the average corporate brainwashed American.  I’m not sorry to see the American insurance racket come to an end.  They don’t give me any lobby money.

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By G.Anderson, June 11, 2009 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

Why, do you even ask… because the so called health care companies, that make billions and billions of dollars, that donated billions and billions of dollars to political campaigns, that have lobyists that they paid billions and billions to stop it..
.... are afraid of one thing only, that they will not continue to make all that loot from ripping off Americans…

And they’ve done it all while making this country, the sickest, most drug addicted nation in the world…..the one that spends so much money, to those that do very little, and get practically nothing in return… now that Detroit has been destroyed by the same pig corporations, there is no place else to go for that kind of money…except for more war, that that looks doubtful too…

But here’s the deal, if left to it’s own devices, the Health care companies will go under just like detroit, because their run by the same greedy, pigs…oink…

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By KDelphi, June 11, 2009 at 1:14 pm Link to this comment

Listen to people who live under it, peeps like Canadians.

Join the civilized world, already!

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By KDelphi, June 11, 2009 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

Here is a link to the live US Senate Common Health..etc., led by Dodd (ugh!)

NOthing new, really, but if anyone is interested..

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By AWM, June 11, 2009 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

In Canada when the single payer system came into effect Doctors went on strike in an attempt to sway public opinion against single payer it backfired instead the public turned on the doctors. We faced all the same scare tactics from all the same sources you see interjecting themselves into the debate in the US.Doctors here are allowed to opt out of the public system the vast majority of remain in the system because they see it as a benefit to them to do so.85+% of Canadians express satisfaction with the system.while it is true that our system isn’t perfect(what system is) it serves our needs.Yes there are wait times however we use a triage system those who need care the most go to the front of the line.One must ask oneself would prefer to wait and receive care and live(not to mention keep your home) or not receive care and die

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By KDelphi, June 11, 2009 at 11:21 am Link to this comment


jackpine is absolutely right. I know that single payer is best, from experience overseas, as well as at my former workplace. But, a “public” plan, depending on how its structured, could help SOME of the poeple who have no care at all, until people find out it is a cash cow for the insurance industry and the whole system collapses under its own beauracratic costs. Maybe that is what it will take..too bad people have to die…

If the plan will just depend on market competition, just leave it alone. (is it a human right or not? Will all pay for it? If so, they have no right to make excessive profits) It will make things worse. The Massachusetts plam does NOT work…think of it as the Romney plan.

Tristan—Too bad you are on the wrong side of morals and history. But, you probably “go to church” and think that you are a good guy.

Bill—not sick of Canadians at all! They appear to be much more informed than USAns and I’m glad your son got such good care. Unfortunately, things are not looking good for single payer here…KEEP TELLING THEM!! Thanks. (Ive been treated in canada and three countries in the EU—-USAns just dont seem to “get it”)

HOw many have to die (or am I being too “melodramatic” for herewegoagain?)about 80,000 a year. NO more moral than war profiteering…

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By Anarcissie, June 11, 2009 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

Susan J.:
‘Let’s say 200 million Americans pay an average $200 each in monthly premiums, totaling over $500 Billion dollars per Year.  If 30% goes to administrative costs and CEO salaries, that’s $150 Billion dollars wasted.’

According to Wikipedia, “In 2007, the U.S. spent $2.26 trillion on health care, or $7,439 per person, up from $2.1 trillion, or $7,026 per capita, the previous year.”  500 billion is chicken feed!

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By bcc, June 11, 2009 at 9:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

>>Obama and Friends say that they can’t introduce a single-payer health plan now because this “new” health system would be too disruptive to the system<<

Obama is rationalizing his nature of being a “system tweaker” rather than a “change” leader, however rational that change may be. It is simply indefensible to keep a poor system in place because changing it would be too disruptive! What complete bullshit! But hey it is easy to be a tweaker than to stand up to moneyed interests. I wish the questioner to which he gave this sorry-assed response would have stopped him right there and said “what is the long term 50 year cost of keeping an inherently inefficient healthcare profiteering system in place versus taking the short term pain of installing a single payer system”?.

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By Susan J., June 11, 2009 at 9:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


Let’s say 200 million Americans pay an average $200 each in monthly premiums, totaling over $500 Billion dollars per Year.  If 30% goes to administrative costs and CEO salaries, that’s $150 Billion dollars wasted.

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By Jon., June 11, 2009 at 9:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Big Health Care, including Big Pharma and Big HMO’s and the AMA are scared to death of having the middle man ‘markups’ eliminated via a single payer public option.  These groups are screaming like little pigs in fear of having their huge profit margins reduced to zero by the public option.  The Humana CEO made a billion dollars last year, for example.  A public option would totally trash the cozy super expensive health care scam that operates in the United States.  This is why we’re seeing such push back from the lobbyists.  Will Congress do the right thing?  Only if we apply incredible pressure—-including having a massive physical presence in DC by the voters.  How bad to we want it?

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By Virginia from Virginia, June 11, 2009 at 8:18 am Link to this comment

Without a SINGLE-PAYER option in the forthcoming health care system, there will be NO REFORM.  Instead, it will be another scheme to separate us taxpayers from our money and donate that money to the already wealthy insurers.  No wonder these insurance company reps are sitting around the table, devising the plans that await us and salivating over their prospects.

It’s about high time we thought about also separating business from choosing our benefits.  Let’s face it.  Businesses desire to save money in the benefits they offer; we employees desire excellent health care which likely is more expensive.  And let’s free business from these exhorbitant benefit costs.  As we have heard, these costs reduce international competition.

Businesses began to offer benefits in WWII to attract workers.  In these times of rampant unemployment, businesses don’t need to attract employees - or, if they did, they can offer higher pay.

Another wasteful cost of our current for-profit health system is the time and energy spent by personnel in our health providers’ offices filling out the myriad insurance forms.  That money and time could be better spent taking care of us.

Obama and Friends say that they can’t introduce a single-payer health plan now because this “new” health system would be too disruptive to the system we now have in place.  Just imagine how, after we establish the insurance companies, HMOs, Big Pharma into greater power over our health - how impossible it will be to change that system or to introduce single-payer THEN!  Those groups will have a stranglehold over our health care and over our economy and, of course, over Congress & The WH.

We need to monitor those people in Congress who are the lackeys of these insurance companies and other for-profit companies and who are against the well-being of our citizens, name the names, call attention to their shenanigans, and vote them OUT!!


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By Bill, June 11, 2009 at 8:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To the American People: You’re being lied to by Health Insurance companies, corporations that have ties to medical insurers, big pharmaceuticals, right wing media and government.

You’ll be sick of hearing from Canadians by now no doubt.  Our system is not perfect. We’re taxed heavily.  Access in remote areas ( after all this is the worlds second largest country with a relatively tiny population), we need more doctors in rural areas, and yes there are wait times. 

But having said all that, you would not find one Canadian in a hundred thousand that would change our wonderful socialized system for what passes for health care there.  Granted, for those that can afford it, or lucky enough to have company sponsored health insurance, the quality of your care is likely second to none. For those that can afford it.  How the hell you can call that civilized is beyond me.

Here’s an example, recent and personal, of the system we have here.  Its annecdotal, and it isn’t always like this.

Two months ago, my 18 year youngest son broke his wrist playing rugby- like football only rougher.  Seen by the doctor within ten minutes of arriving at our local small town (pop.6000) hospital, he’s x-rayed,  slpinted, given pain killers, and booked with an orthopedic surgeon by phone in a nearby town, seen by the surgeon the same day, in fact within fifteen minutes of arriving at the hospital, now about two hours after he broke it.  Immediately prepped for surgery.  Operated on within one hour of arriving at that hospital, by the surgeon who specializes in sports injuries, and who is put on call when the Royal Family come to visit Canada. Fifteen stitches, with screw in place to hold the tendon.  Home that night, there not being not a general anesthetic. Four follow up visits, casts, splints, sutures removed, seen by the surgeon three times for follow up with in that period.  Verdict?  Completely healed.  Total cost to us? Five dollars for parking on three visits.

Yes, I’m heavily taxed.  Currently (being retired) at a 27% income tax rate- we have a graduated rate- more you make, more you pay.  Plus a goods and services tax which in this province amounts to 13%.  We do gripe about the taxes.  There are wait times its true, as surgery is based on medical need, NOT ability to pay.  Emergency and life threatening get priority obviously.  Want a tatoo removed or a circumcision?  You pay for that yourself.  Did I choose the surgeon?  No, of course not-  there was no need to nor was it an issue.  Do I have a family doctor?  Yes.  Am I happy with our system?  Having seen what passes for medical care for the non wealthy there, I’m stunned by the inequality of yours and the inherent decency of ours. And we have a socilaist former Methodist minister turned politician, Tommy Douglas,  who fouught for this all- against the medical system, insurers, and governments in the 1960’s- almost fifty years ago.  We’ve had this since then.  First each province and finally country wide in the late 1960’s.

The bottom line is the taxes are worth it.  No one here has to go bankrupt to get medically necessary surgery.  We all contribute to the common good through our taxes.  We realize an obligation to each other and that quality medical care for every man woman and child in this country should not,  and does not,  depend on ability to pay.

After explaining our system to an educated well off middle class New Englander, I was told the following..quote “why the hell should I pay more taxes so that welfare woman down the street can have free health care for her kids?”  end quote.  Verbatim quote.

Well, if he doesn’t know, and few of you seem to know, then I guess I’m wasting my time and yours.
If every man for himself works for you, go for it.  The rest of us can all see where that’s brought you.

Sadly, you all deserve much better-  from your government and from each other.


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By Watt D Fark, June 11, 2009 at 7:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Not only are about 60% of bankruptcies related to health care bills, but most of the people in that 60% had health insurance.

Kevin Trudeau is a bit of a wackadoodle, but I think he’s got a pretty good point about the pharm industry—it is in their self interest to make sure everyone has a chronic “disease” and sell drugs.

Always follow the money. ALWAYS

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By Jim Yell, June 11, 2009 at 7:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Let’s face it the insurance and pharmaceutical companies are VAMPIRES of money. To them a system that would put the money into care instead of huge profits is GARLIC. Why is anyone surprised at their opposition to a rational healthcare plan? Why are they allowed to pour money into our elected officials to pay for protection of their racket?

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By herewegoagain, June 11, 2009 at 6:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Anarcissie writes: “Unless they’ve been misreported, polls show that a large number of the citizenry favor or are at least open to government-provided medical insurance or medical care—”

That’s almost exactly what I noted on another thread. Somehow, this message needs to be front and center of the endless healthcare reform debate in the media: why is the people’s will continuously being ignored, indeed, thwarted by our legislators on this issue?

We know the answer, of course, they’re in the pockets of the very industries working so vigorously to prevent reform. My point is we just need to keep asking that question over and over and over and over.

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By Anarcissie, June 11, 2009 at 6:42 am Link to this comment

Conason’s article seems kind of dumb.  Unless they’ve been misreported, polls show that a large number of the citizenry favor or are at least open to government-provided medical insurance or medical care (or some other public, non-profit arrangement).  It’s not that the people are scared, it’s that they are submissive to the large corporations and privileged individuals—essentially, predators—who constitute the insurance industry and the the present medical-care establishment, and in any case the legislature is, as usual, easily bought.  A cultural change is needed—people need to start demanding results from the legislators they elect, change the legislators, or set up alternative institutions.

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By Tristan Roszkowski, June 11, 2009 at 5:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I love living in a world where everyone gets to talk about their “wants” and their “dues.”  How about some reality interjected in the health care debate as to COST?  I had to laugh reading that Medicare only is increasing in costs by about 4% versus the 7% in the private sector.  Considering that most people on Medicare are some of the oldest and therefore the sickest already in the country with a price tag we already can’t afford, it doesn’t surprise me that the costs are increasing more slowly as they should be in the highest cost bracket already.  The reality of life is that if you can’t afford premium health care, you need to work harder for you and your family until you can.  I personally do not want to sacrifice another 10-20% of my family income to support someone else’s healthcare.  I work hard to support my own.  That is what charities are for and churches, oh but wait, they aren’t going to exist anymore when the government steps in to spread the wealth around instead.

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By Edensasp, June 11, 2009 at 5:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Afraid of a public health plan? Not in America!! The part that the United States occupies anyway.  Just imagine for a moment, that 250 million people cause to have sent to you 800 dollars every month and because 54 million or so people cant afford to, these people decide to do exactly what you are doing, pooling your money together and assuring that everyone gets insurance…. How would you feel if your checks stopped coming and you were left with nothing but guaranteed health care, and of course the monies you have already amassed…

Demand HR 676 to be put on the national ballot for the people to decide.

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By cilcsster, June 11, 2009 at 5:03 am Link to this comment

For an American senior living in Canada, who has had massive health issues to contend with in the past 5 yrs., I can tell you OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) has worked wonders for me.  I have no debt, great doctors, excellent care, and peace of mind.  Having lived for a couple of decades in Southern California, the latter part of it on social security, I would be long dead if I hadn’t moved out of the USA.
Americans are misinformed about the health plan up here COMPLETELY!  When it comes to public health, America is for the most part a 3rd world country.

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By Purple Girl, June 11, 2009 at 4:59 am Link to this comment

“Wanna Play Ball,Scarecrow?”
These Insurance Corps and their Pocket Politicians are not only terrified about REAL Free Marekt competition, they have become so hysterical they are willing to expose their true UNAmerican Ideology.
It was not only a Gov’t ‘Of,For & By the people’, but also a Free market.American are guaranteed the righ to access the Free market Not only as consumers but more poignantly as providers of goods and services as well. Our Founding Documents, Our Founders vision, were not written for the benefit of any Corp.Such limitation were not only found in Feudalism, but also communist societies.Please tell me what the difference is between a Family crest/dictatorial emblem and a Logo,when access to particiaption in the Market place is predicated on just that? The concept of “We the People” does not Elude them- they outright reject the concept and have usurped our Constitutional Rights in an effort serve their ‘nobles’ Logos. I consider that Treason!
Today, The Turd blossom Rove confessed the Repugs are not just the party of ‘NO’, They are the party of ‘SO’- he might as well have titled his article ‘Let Them Eat Cake’.
Why is this SOB not wearing a neon orange Jumpsuit with some shiny steel braclets on his wrists and ankles by now???

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By jackpine savage, June 11, 2009 at 4:48 am Link to this comment

Well, it’s better simply because there isn’t the need to make massive profits…that, by itself, saves a great deal of money, doesn’t it?

I know that we’re not going to do the right thing; i accept that.  But there is no reason why we can’t have a basic public option complete with deductibles and copays.  That insurance can (and should) be supplemented by private insurance…a rather common situation in countries with socialized medicine.

But my guess is that instead of no insurance i’ll end up being forced to buy a shitty plan for too much money so that someone in a suit can make even more money.  Or the small business i work for will be forced to offer me insurance that neither of us can afford. (and i’ll probably get shit for it)

I know who the politicians work for…and it ain’t me nor is it my family employer.

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By cyclezealot, June 11, 2009 at 3:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Now the AMA is the latest to dump on the public plan. There are plenty of other doctors who disagree with the AMA.. Like the National Physicians for a Health Care Plan.. Among others.
Yes. AMA . Doctors morale has never been higher. We are sure you love your corporate masters at Aetna, Anthem Blues’ who making your lives so blissful..

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By ardee, June 11, 2009 at 3:27 am Link to this comment

I always find amazing the gullibility of a nation that thinks itself supremely sophisticated and knowledgeable. Many in America still do not know that we are about the only industrialized nation without cradle to grave health care, that almost 60% of all bankruptcies are health care related and that our insurers are perfectly willing to allow us to die rather than affect the bottom line by saving us.

Instead we all so willingly swallow the line of the insurers regarding false claims of poor service in govt run health care systems, that we will be forced to utilize such systems without choice and that what is being proposed is communism. Stupid us!

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