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Don’t Be Fooled by the Public Option

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Posted on Sep 3, 2009
Barack Obama
White House / Pete Souza

By Bill Boyarsky

While the media are transfixed by all the screaming in town halls and on television, the real work of health care reform is being done in secret by congressional staff technocrats, government bureaucrats, health industry lobbyists and sometimes even a member of the Senate or House.

The controversy over the so-called public option is a prime example of what is happening. Under this arrangement, government health insurance plans are supposed to compete with those offered by private insurance companies, with the hope of forcing the private companies to lower prices and expand benefits. Advocates of this scheme offer it as an alternative to what’s known as universal medical care, Medicare for all or “single payer,” which would eliminate the role of insurance companies altogether in favor of a government-only plan. Many liberals say such far-reaching reform is unattainable. As a compromise, they support the public option.

The fight over the public option has occupied much of the media coverage, but left unsaid is the fact that weeks of behind-the-scenes negotiations have weakened the public option proposal to the point that it is hardly an option at all.

I discussed the matter with Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio. Kucinich favors universal health insurance coverage, not the public option. So do I.

A health care reform bill was approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee in July. Kucinich said that a final version—the real bill—is now being rewritten and will be presented to committee chairs and other leaders, who will bring the revised version to the House floor. “It’s happening now,” he said. “It’s being done by the leadership, and we [members of Congress] don’t know what’s going on.”

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Kucinich is the author of an amendment to the House bill that would ease federal barriers to states wanting to enact universal care plans of their own. Legislators are engaged in such efforts in California, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington. He told me it “was one of the few provisions in a badly flawed bill that could provide benefits.”

Kucinich suggested I read articles written by health insurance expert Kip Sullivan on the Web site of Physicians for a National Health Program, which advocates government-run universal health care. Sullivan, he said, has figured out the real story.

Sullivan writes that public option advocates once promised a program as far-reaching as Medicare but “now promote something entirely different. To make matters worse, they have not told the public they have backpedaled. The campaign for the ‘public option’ resembles the classic bait-and-switch scam: Tell your customers you’ve got one thing for sale, when in fact you are selling something very different.”

Sullivan documents how the public option has been watered down since Jacob Hacker, a political science professor now back at Yale after a stint at UC Berkeley, proposed it several years ago. Hacker first estimated that 129 million would be covered, drawn by its generous terms. But the public option plans now before Congress would cover no more than 10 million, Sullivan said. Reducing subsidies to low-income people has cut the number covered, while limits on private insurance benefits have been eased.

In addition, the public option would actually be run by insurance companies such as Blue Cross, acting as contractors for the federal government. What is everyone arguing over? Heads they win, tails they win.

Referring to a bill approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, Sullivan writes that the language of these provisions is so complex “it requires at least two readings to understand it.” The language of this and the other bills is no doubt designed to be purposely incomprehensible to most lawmakers, who will receive the final bill only at the last moment. The bills certainly are not being written to be understood by the general public.

Another important issue being decided in private is what precisely will Americans get from the new plan. “What level of subsidies [will] be available to make coverage more affordable for people?” asked Drew Altman, president of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. “What kind of coverage will people receive, and will it meet the public’s expectations?”

Kucinich doesn’t like the secret process. Neither does a newspaper that seldom, if ever, agrees with him on anything: The Wall Street Journal. Noting that President Barack Obama has complained that critics have misrepresented him, the paper said, “Who’s to know what’s reality and what’s a myth when the public and Members of Congress aren’t able to read a bill that would restructure one-seventh of our economy.”

So far, the loser in this game of backroom politics is the consumer or, in this case, the patient. The winner is the medical care industry.

President Obama is scheduled to speak to Congress on Wednesday on the issue. He’ll have to assure the rest of us that we’ll be winners, too.


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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, September 13, 2009 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

One way for the Blue Dogs to avoid criticism is to stop humping the leg of insurance companies. Since that isn’t going to happen, they just try to make us shut up.

http://www.alternet.org/blogs/peek/142555/sorry,_blue_dogs,_no_truce

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By Liberal Democratic Party USA, September 13, 2009 at 1:22 pm Link to this comment

I consider it the point that progressives fight back. The Reagan Republiklan revolution aka known as the CRAP EATERS

“Citizens Resisting Anything Progressive, Especially Anything That Enables Real Security” (CRAP EATERS)

did what they did only because corporations funded them. Similarly if we go on a financial boycott against the funders of conservatives in both parties we can force congress to enact progressive legislation.

GO TO http://DEMOCRATZ.ORG to see health care and other petitions with immediate emailing to the people we petition. Get others to sign these petitions.

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By DBM, September 6, 2009 at 10:23 pm Link to this comment

Falsified facts are needed to justify a “compromise” which will leave the medical insurance companies and pharmas in a position where they can collect money and then dump clients when they need the insurance back or to extort money from people in their moments of medical need.

The Republicans in total and the Democratics “Blue Dogs” are bought and paid for by these wealthy special interests so there is no incentive for anyone letting “real” facts move public opinion further torwards a more equitable solution.

Unless something amazing happens the health industry in the U.S. will destroy the world economy in their quest for obscene wealth and profit. 

None of the corporatists are willing to give up one fraction of a future dollar that is not taken from them.  See how they even turned the failure of their Wall St Casino into an opportunity to gouge the government purse (meaning they could not only take from the people of their own era but their descendants as well).

The Healthcare lobby will win unless enough politicians feel that their re-elections are doomed if they vote in favour of their corporate donors.  Sadly, I can’t see that happening.

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Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, September 6, 2009 at 9:12 pm Link to this comment

A portion of the conundrum is misinformation.  What a surprise….(uh…huh.)  According to MediaMatters:

The Associated Press again falsely reported that “[n]onpartisan budget officials” said President Obama’s health care plan could “increase the federal deficit by about $1 trillion,” when in fact the Congressional Budget Office has found that the only complete bill to be given a cost estimate “would result in a net increase in the federal budget deficit of $239 billion over the 2010-2019 period.” The Los Angeles Times and Reuters also ignored CBO’s conclusion that the plan would increase the deficit by less than a quarter of the cost they reported.”

http://mediamatters.org/research/200909030016

To agree or disagree requires the facts, the facts however, have not been forthcoming.  This leads to the inevitable question…. why?  We can see the “who”, but WHY do they need to skew the facts?  I say…. there’s a reason, and obviously the facts are being marginalized at best, or more rightly….... buried.

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By WorkingClassDemocrat, September 6, 2009 at 8:41 am Link to this comment

Why are we all afraid to talk about the real reason we can’t get healthcare?  It’s very simple.  Doctors (mainly specialists) and hospitals make too much money.  Originally insurance companies were there to protect us from the greed of doctors, but now they have become part of the problem.  Until we create a system in which doctors are the employees and work for us, we will never have affordable medicine.  But we wouldn’t want to piss off our doctors, would we?

Ask yourself this.  How many insurance companies have forced a person into bankruptcy over medical bills?  And who is it that is constantly complaining about being held responsible for catastrophic life changing or life ending errors that occur on their way to riches?  Controlling medical costs will never occur until we are brave enough to acknowledge the real problem.

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By dihey, September 6, 2009 at 8:29 am Link to this comment

There is at least one fundamental economic and financial reason why “single payer” with mandatory participation for all is cheaper than a bevy of private insurers(ironically this would also be true if there were only one private health insurance company in our country!). The larger the pool of participants of an insurance system the more the risk is spread over a larger number of paying participants hence the lower the premiums can be. I have not invented this. It is a long-known principle of all insurances.

I am convinced that only “single payer” can bring about what President Obama wants: health care insurance at an affordable cost. In addition “single payer” is the only system for which it is exactly known where the funds came from and how they are spent.

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By DBM, September 6, 2009 at 12:02 am Link to this comment

Isn’t it interesting that Doctors are supposed to be so smart.  Way back when Medicare was introduced it was proposed as universal.  Somehow the pharma and medical insurance companies convinced doctors that their incomes were at risk so they opposed it.

Now, decades later, a majority of doctors are wholly on board with a Medicare-for-all approach as they’ve seen that the only incomes being protected are ... oh wow - the pharmas and medical insurance companies!  Who’d have thought ...?

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, September 5, 2009 at 2:47 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt,

I agree that as it currently stands the people of the United States, without the Single Payer Public Option, certainly have the best health care money can buy, as 70% to 80% of the population can’t actually afford to have health care.  If you haven’t got the money to buy your health care then you get as much health care as the insurance company, if you have one, will allow, with the insurance companies keeping in mind that your health care is cutting into their profits and if you don’t have money or insurance, then you are just out of luck and will be dumped on skid row or something just as terrible.

Any member of the Common Population NOT fending for the PUBLIC OPTION is a foolish person, as the little bit of money the Right-Wing gives you to help them sabotage medical care for the nation, will not pay for your medical, when something happens to you, and it isn’t private insurance’s plan to actually give medical care to their members, only the illusion that they will is all that matters, whereas the Public Option would guarantee health care for each and every individual, which will be able to be paid for by following President Obama’s plan which he will tell us about in his speech from Congress September 9th. Here is what President Obama had to say at the Organizing For America National Health Care Forum:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-by-the-President-at-the-Organizating-for-America-National-Health-Care-Forum/

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By glider, September 5, 2009 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

Nighthawk
>My favorite line from an ObaminationCare supporter: “Medicare isn’t broke.  It just needs more money.”<

Is this because you like to compare apples to oranges to support a disingenuous attack?  Yes, Medicare is something we responsibly do to take care of our elderly and it is tough to fund when you have 8 years of Bush Republican tax cuts.  If the goal is the best healthcare per dollar you examine the costs of providing care with the different systems.  That is the apple to apple comparison you find distasteful. Sure, since HICs are able to extort their money up front they are not in the red.  Nonetheless, if we convert to a well run Single Payer system the public will get more care for their health care buck.  You don’t like that because the rich will need to chip in bit after decades of an expanding gap between rich and middle/poor class.

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By Mary Ann McNeely, September 5, 2009 at 11:39 am Link to this comment

“Remember,” said John Adams, “democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, September 5, 2009 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

Then you agree with me MarthaA that is is the best health system money can buy? But only if you have the money of course.

I agree with WorkingclassDemocrat but then what are you MarthaA, an Obamabot? You act like you think our barbaric system is the best. Well do you? I already know that NightHawk is the optimist here. Why don’t you pick on him instead? He is obvious in his razor-eyed perceptions. No doubt ‘he’ either has the money or hasn’t been sick enough to find out whether his insurance covers what happens to him. Without the wealth it is just a matter of time for him to find out the hard way. And even then it might not be enough. When you are indoctrinated you can excuse any fallacy with you point of view.

I am expecting Obama to equivocate but ultimately continue to sell us out to the present system. One he had no intention of changing. All it takes is to reduce the already pathetic “gov’t option” to nothing that the insurance giants have to fear. But then they are already okay. They just don’t see a reason to change, as NightHawk does, it is isn’t damaged then there is no need for repair.

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By KDelphi, September 5, 2009 at 11:19 am Link to this comment

The “plan” by AHIP (America’s Health Insurance Plans), which Obama is using as a basis for part of his upcoming speech:

http://www.americanhealthsolution.org/assets/Uploads/ahipreformpolicyproposal.pdf

Obama will talk about a “uniquely ‘merkin plan” ala BaucASS (go west young man), he will mention single payer, as in “now some say we should have single payer, but I say..” (although he was for it in 2003), he will bark a little about the insurance industry, but he will do nothing to dent their profits, even as people die.

And he will come to wish that he had never promised to “reform” the health industry at all—-and he will collect disgustingly huge contributions from the medical industrial complex for it.

He wil lose the Senate in 2010 and use it as an excuse to do nothing further, but will be re-elected in 2012 becasue the GOp will run one of the biggest assholes ever seen in our universe, like Palin or something or Gingrich.

That is what I say as Nostradumbass.

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By the worm, September 5, 2009 at 11:11 am Link to this comment

Summary of the Obama Administration’s Health Care Leadership
Single Payer:  Achieves all stated goals: Cuts costs, increases coverage, focuses
most health care dollars on providing health care. Status: Eliminated from
consideration before ‘negotiations’ began.
Real Public Option: Achieves some stated goals. Status: ‘Compromised Away’
Psuedo-Public Option: Achieves nothing. A ‘Political Option’, but does not
achieve cost reduction, increases coverage into the existing system; thereby,
increasing the % of GNP devoted to health insurers and big pharma profits.
Status: Under active consideration.
Coops: Achieves nothing. A ‘political option’, that does not achieve cost
reduction, increased coverage or efficiencies in the existing system; but will
increase the % of GNP funneled to profits for health insurers and big pharma.
Status: Under active consideration.
Trigger: Allow a prolonged period for the Republican noise machine to
manufacture lies and prey on people’s fears. Status: Under active consideration.
Now that all options which would result in cost cutting, increased access and
improved efficiencies are no longer under consideration, which option will the
great negotiator choose as his ‘health care reform’?

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By tropicgirl, September 5, 2009 at 10:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

MarthaA, you said, “Right-Wingers don’t want a Public Option…”

This is NOT TRUE. Look at the polls. There are not 70% democrats, even if you
include the independents.

You, like Obama (fakely, of course unless he is totally dumb, which I WONDER),
for some reason, accepted the idea that all the conservatives follow and believe
Rush, Beck and the corporations. This attitude is something that makes
liberals’ eyebrows go up. He’s jiving us one way or another.

Most conservatives I know DO NOT share Rush and Becks love for, and desire to
protect (for money) the corporations. They just DON’T. Rush and Beck know
this and realize the thin platform of their spin, which is why they vary their
message and muddy it up… Its just spin. Everyone wants things to get better
and it is now totally obvious that we need single payer and let the insurance
companies exist if they want to. But Obama won’t sell that, even though that
would separate the Rushies from the conservatives who voted for him, because
the conservatives that I know would not really come to the defense of the
insurance companies at that point.

It is so obvious that he is, himself, in cahoots with the insurance lobby.
Michelle made her living from paitent-dumping, for gods sake. Managed panel
freaking care. So did Axelslob. His best buddy is Rahm Emmanuel who’s
brother, turns out, is a crazy doctor.

And, most importantly,

NO ONE CARES ABOUT SAVING MONEY, Obama
NO ONE CARES ABOUT SAVING MONEY, Obama
NO ONE CARES ABOUT SAVING MONEY, Obama

DO YOU? Unless it means reducing your policy cost, this argument from Obama
is ridiculous. That’s not what he is talking about. He’s obviously talking about
limiting care, calling it “harmless”, so the insurance companies can make more
profit. And forcing more businesses to pay insurance corporations out of wage
money. If you really want to reduce costs TO THE PATIENT, single-payer is the
only thing that will.

The only people who want to “save money” are patient dumpers, crazy doctors
and insurance companies. Medicare is just fine if they stop raiding it.

WE REALLY WANT THE GOVERNMENT TO SPEND MORE MONEY ON HEALTH
CARE, EVEN IF IT MEANS STOPPING AT LEAST ONE FOREIGN INVASION OR NOT
SHOVING TRILLIONS INTO THE POCKETS OF WALL STREET.

WE NEED TO SPEND MORE MONEY ON HEALTHCARE. We need to IMPROVE
quality. WE CAN AFFORD IT. GOVERNMENT JUST WANTS TO SPEND OUR MONEY
ON WARS AND GRAFT FOR THE MAFIA ON WALL STREET.

Over and over Obama has proven, we, the American people, are not a priority
for him, like the crooked corporations seem to be.

Obama, why do you hate the American people so much?

(And how many babies did you kill yesterday? My hero, sigh).

Report this

By philosoph, September 5, 2009 at 10:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nighthawk: Regarding your comment “Despite what folks like Obama seem to think, this is the best there is”, there is a truism that “the optimist believes this is the best of all possible worlds; the pessimist fears the optimist is right”. Are you an optimist or a pessimist?

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By Nighthawk, September 4, 2009 at 9:04 pm Link to this comment

By MarthaA, September 4 at 11:42 pm

Hi Martha!

Still proving the genius of Goebbels, eh?

Fix Medicare first.

Then expand it to cover the small number of folks that can benefit from it.

You might want to stop spewing fraudulent statistics while you’re at it. 

Maybe put a disclaimer on it: “70% of sock puppet Obama supporters prefer a ‘publik option’.’‘

There, that’s better.

My favorite line from an ObaminationCare supporter: “Medicare isn’t broke.  It just needs more money.”

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, September 4, 2009 at 8:42 pm Link to this comment

DON’T BE FOOLED INTO THINKING PRIVATE CORPORATIONS CARE ABOUT YOU’RE HEALTH CARE.

The only hope for real health care for the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION is a Single Payer PUBLIC OPTION.

MEDICARE IS A PUBLIC OPTION.

MEDICARE hasn’t hurt anyone, therefore a better PUBLIC OPTION would only make more people be able to have medical care and wouldn’t hurt anyone, but would reduce costs going into the corporate insurance and pharmaceutical CEO’s fat wallets.

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By Nighthawk, September 4, 2009 at 7:41 pm Link to this comment

Gosh, doesn’t Obama look presidential behind that huge desk in the picture?

Why yes, that is the same window in the backround there that he tried to walk through like it was a door.

Sure, sure, I know.  It didn’t get much press or any SNL skits because it wasn’t nearly as funny as bush trying to go through a door that was locked.

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By Nighthawk, September 4, 2009 at 7:37 pm Link to this comment

By politicky, September 4 at 9:32 pm #


“Nighthawk, get a clue:”

Sure thing, pal.

What?  Oh, that settles it then.

WesternPAcoalitionforsinglepayerhealthcare
Kaiser Foundation
TIME
CNN
CBS
NYT
ETC

They left out the AMA, CPUSA, SEIU, UAW, and Publik broadcasting.

In-credible

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politicky's avatar

By politicky, September 4, 2009 at 6:32 pm Link to this comment

Nighthawk, get a clue:

http://www.wpasinglepayer.org/PollResults.html

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By Nighthawk, September 4, 2009 at 6:22 pm Link to this comment

“The only real health care reform is single payer; and the vast majority of the American public supports it.”
By Jack, September 4 at 12:42 pm

Since when is 30% a vast majority?

“If they would promote HR 676, I’d show up at Town Hall Meetings and risk getting my ass shot.”
By KDelphi, September 4 at 1:38 am

Don’t you mean “risk getting my finger bitten off”?

Worm.  Apt name.  Utterly devoid of truth.

Poor little Aquarius.
“just very expensive medical care that will eventually bankrupt you if you have no cover or insufficient cover.”

Ah.  Then you’re simply full of BS.  Thanks for clarifying that.

“that reform is needed.”  Yes, and the Obama plan is definitely not reform.

“you left out the percentage of your healthcare dollar that goes to insurance and drug company profits and/or so-called administrative costs”

Yep. About 3% profit margin.  Including your imaginary “so called”.

“People can wait for a hip replacement. If Buffalo wants to make money rather than serve its own citizens, have at it.”
By KDelphi, September 3 at 10:04 pm #

Guess your pot is covered, eh Delphi?
Typical of Liberals.

Who said Buffalo wasn’t serving its residents?  Canadian overflow into the states gave them cause to expand with a new hospital.

Yeah, tell your Granny to wait for a hip replacement.

“I have also lived in Europe”
Sure thing fella.  Tort reform.  Well, that and the amount of money spent here on research.
Try reading before posting.

“The people who are making arguments like Night Hawk dont give a damn if anyone else dies in the streets, so, you are right that arguing with them is a waste of type.”

Pretty broad and intolerant assumption there, fella.  Again: typical.

I said nothing of the sort.

Let me try again, since you seem to be challenged. It is a simple fact that a large portion of the cost of American care is in caring for the “uninsured”.  Where did I say that they should not be helped? 

Ah.
I didn’t.

It is also fact (Apologies for offending Liberals here: I know you have trouble with facts.) that many “uninsured” people are being so by choice.  In contrast, many self employed folks pay for their own. 

There is no more incentive for folks to be insured for health care than there is for them to keep liability and personal coverage on their cars.  Sure, it’s the law.  So what?
Folks drive around all the time with expired registrations, cancelled insurance, and suspended licenses.

Why do you think there are folks in the inner city living in $500 hovels but driving Escalades and Hummers?  It’s more difficult to repossess the car if the folks refuse to make payment.

Sure, sure.  For you folks that imagine yourselves to be worldly (“I’ve lived in Canada”  “I’ve lived in Europe”) come on by and we’ll give you a tour.  Watch out for the razorwire. 

I’m sure even Aquarius can summon the sense to agree that this is one of the reasons some folks want “universal” care.

So, we need to nationalize health care, force businesses into bankruptcy, indebt our grandchildren, etc, to nationalize something that we’re already paying for?

You might consider things that are actually reform.  Give up your straw dog “big business is evil” and “capitalism is selfish” BS.

As for living outside of the States?  Gee and gosh!  I’m sure proud of all of you that have and are sooooo worldly.

Myself, I don’t miss it much.  Despite what folks like Obama seem to think, this is the best there is.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, September 4, 2009 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment

All the RIGHT-WING CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN Hitleresque screaming and hollering theatrics was to stop democratic constructive meaningful political dialog, because Right-Wingers don’t want a Public Option, saving money for the country and ordinary citizens having a better medical deal is not of Right-Winger interest, hence the Right-Wing set up, orchestrated and carried out through their minions their screaming and hollering contests just like Hitler did using the frames Hitler recorded in Hitler’s book, “Mein Kampf”.  The wonderful thing is that their RIGHT-WING SCHEME didn’t work.

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By WildBilly, September 4, 2009 at 3:02 pm Link to this comment

As Baby Boomers approach their Golden Years, more and more people find their savings and their medical bills are insufficient.  The rapid rise in medical costs finds even people with health insurance paying more out of pocket than their income. The result for many is bankruptcy.  And these are not the people who bought huge homes with risky loans, but rather hard-working people who scrimped and saved, but saw inflation and rising prices exhaust their nest eggs.
Here’s one report from the AMA:

RESULTS: Using a conservative definition, 62.1% of all bankruptcies in 2007 were medical; 92% of these medical debtors had medical debts over $5000, or 10% of pretax family income. The rest met criteria for medical bankruptcy because they had lost significant income due to illness or mortgaged a home to pay medical bills. Most medical debtors were well educated, owned homes, and had middle-class occupations. Three quarters had health insurance. Using identical definitions in 2001 and 2007, the share of bankruptcies attributable to medical problems rose by 49.6%. In logistic regression analysis controlling for demographic factors,
the odds that a bankruptcy had a medical cause was 2.38-fold higher in 2007 than in 2001.
CONCLUSIONS: Illness and medical bills contribute to a large and increasing share of US bankruptcies.
  So the concept that personal bankruptcies result from overspending and credit card debt are false.  It’s the lack of health insurance or the insufficiency thereof that causes most personal bankruptcy in the USA.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, September 4, 2009 at 1:35 pm Link to this comment

WorkingClassDemocrat,

For that kind of a statement, I suspect you are a RIGHT-WING CONSERVATIVE EXTREMIST REPUBLICAN posing as a LIBERAL, like other names on this blog.

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By WorkingClassDemocrat, September 4, 2009 at 1:18 pm Link to this comment

Let’s hope that more of the public will wake up to the realities when they are finished getting their “screwing” from Obama.  I think there will be little doubt to most that Democrats only offered hope.

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By Rodger Lemonde, September 4, 2009 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment

The insidious thing about the health care industry is
that they realize you can’t fix stupid. Thus they whip
up the fear factor of the stupid as a shield. And guess
which minority party just happened to have the loudest
contingent of stupid on hand.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, September 4, 2009 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt,

From a RIGHT-WING REPUBLICAN perspective, the United States has the best health care in the world, for all of us——- maybe not YOU.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, September 4, 2009 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

Typical of the Republicans to first attack the non-existent gov’t health care scare. Then tell us we will be losing choice. Even though it is the corporations that decide which hospitals, doctors, what they can treat you for and with what medicines and kinds of service you can choose from if they want you at all. That they can dump you if you cost them too much, will not pay for certain life saving medical services either. So many phantom choices they give, after they have already decided what to offer you.

They warn of rationed care and death panels even though all of that we have now under their “best system in the world” if you have the money in the first place to pay for it. That is the Devil’s catch in that tune they don’t tell you about. A pitfall they have covered up. An IED in the salad they feed you. A silent trap ready to be sprung at the most inoppertune time. Eaten by those who have been indoctrinated into believing their care taker is a friend not a cold monster.

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By christian96, September 4, 2009 at 10:53 am Link to this comment

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G44NCvNDLfc&feature=player_embedded

Your reaction to this representative from Michigan’s
comments on healthcare.

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By garyrose66, September 4, 2009 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

Let’s just stop trying to convince each side - which won’t happen given the previous 8 years of training the Bush Administration gave the public in how to quarrel hatefully out of fearmongering and demonization.

I would just like to add my view that many miss the point: healthcare is not health insurance and health insurance in not healthcare.

Health insurance is a business process to generate profits from denying people healthcare services.

Healthcare is providing medical interventions before, during and after illness. 

We are the only advanced country in the world where health insurance profits are currently hundreds of billions of dollars,(up tenfold over the last 8 years) and rationing is done by ability to pay, and where 0ver 700,000 citizens are bankrupted each year from medical expenses.  As for healthcare, we don’t get what we pay for, since we pay more than double into medical services per capita than any other country in the world, rank 37th in the world in aggregated outcome/access analysis, and are killing ourselves by avoiding simple lifestyle changes.  When these obvious issues are addressed directly, we will have healthcare reform.

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Tony Wicher's avatar

By Tony Wicher, September 4, 2009 at 10:25 am Link to this comment

By G.Anderson, September 4 at 12:28 am #

“American medicine is there such a thing? No it’a all
about cashing in on the sick.”

So true. I’m 63, have no health insurance, and
haven’t been to a so-called doctor in 25 years,
except one time a few years ago I got a kidney stone
and went to an emergency room. Big mistake. They gave
me two $100 CAT scans and a $10 pain shot, and
charged me $8000 for the trouble. Afterwards I got a
herbal solution for $10 that I took every day for a
couple of weeks and passed the kidney stone. I’ve
been fine ever since. I keep a little morphine around
in case I need pain relief again for that or
something else. That’s all they do that’s worth
anything - give you a pain shot. I can do that myself
a lot cheaper.

“Physician heal thyself” - Jesus

“Doctors cut, burn and torture the sick, and then
demand a fee for such services” - Heraclitus


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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, September 4, 2009 at 10:20 am Link to this comment

“Technically speaking, having a paid professional army instead of an army of civilian soldiers is “socialism”.”Hulk2008

Where do you get that? Mercenaries are by definition not socialist. More like the Libertarian ways of doing things seems to me. Corporations swear by them.

Another thing, “socialism” can be used by all four points of the spectrum. Not just left and right. Corporate/state socialism is also called fascism for instance.

Starting a new party is a dead end useless. You should have noticed that we have a closed system. If you are not a Democrat or a Republican then you get no national exposure which is paramount to getting elected. Without it you will lose.

Universal means for all, all pervading. It fits to what you need. Single payer is from one source. So you come it the general pool of money is drawn to pay for whatever you need. Simple isn’t it?

It may cost less per person but it will still cost. Just that the money will be better spent not for fat salaries and added layers of clerical work from the so-called “more efficient” private enterprise.

People should have jumped on Obama when he pragmatically dumped single payer before negotiations. Before! He isn’t a liberal nor a Progressive. He is in reality a rich Regressive doing the bidding of his corporate constituents. That and a few other things that is keeping us on the train to a fascist state. He is a hostile witness and his every word should be scrutinized closely and skeptically.

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By Butter, September 4, 2009 at 10:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The best health care in the world (that almost 50 million people can’t afford)brought to you by the best government money can buy.

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By Jack, September 4, 2009 at 9:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama is being very clever. He does not want real health reform any more than the Republicans or the Blue Dogs. The only real health care reform is single payer; and the vast majority of the American public supports it. So the political class, Dems and Repubs alike were faced with a problem. They have all sold out for the big money from the insurance industry and big pharma and the other big money players. It was easy for the Repubs to simply oppose anything and be consistent with their “principles”. The Dems had a problem though: how to pretend to be listening to and supporting their base while still not offending their big money masters. So they have hit upon this strategy of changing the debate from health care reform to health insurance “reform”. This is something that the big players can live with since it can be done in such a way as to really be meaningless. Obama has played his part brilliantly by shifting the debate so carefully that only the most astute progressives have even noticed that he has sold out. We will finally get some sort of bill, which will ensure the insurance industry obscene profits, and we will call it reform. Obama and the Dems will claim a “great victory”, and the issue will be put to rest for another 15 years until the health of America compared to the rest of the industrialized world becomes such a major concern that we will have to repeat the charade.

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By dihey, September 4, 2009 at 9:06 am Link to this comment

I urge those who use the word “Universal” to explain what they mean by it. To me “Universal” is like Playdo, you squeeze it and it takes on another form.

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By DHFabian, September 4, 2009 at 7:56 am Link to this comment

In my experience: Without insurance, I was unable to obtain non-emergency help (have a condition that requires periodic check-ups, but couldn’t get that, so the condition deteriorated over time). Of course, the pre-existing condition left me uninsurable. I was working to get by, stuck in low-wage jobs that I would lose due to illness after a while. I was able to obtain emergency treatment for my condition, tens of thousands of dollars in debt.  I was required to make monthly payments on this debt for a period of seven years following the most recent hospitalization. I lost everything, and finally qualified for Medicaid (and later, for Medicare). I have no credit rating, so I can’t get a credit card, and am required to pay full purchase price when I buy something. I’ll never own a home or a car, never be able get a student loan, etc. This effectively, and permanently, locked me out of our economic system.  I’m now 54, permanently disabled, and have Medicaid/Medicare.  Sometimes I wonder how things would have turned out if I had been able to obtain comprehensive medical care early on.

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By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, September 4, 2009 at 7:23 am Link to this comment

“And strangely, no one is refused service.  Even if they cannot or will not pay, the only threat that can be used against them is to hit their credit score.  Many do not care.  From the emergency room to normal office visits - I’ve seen it.”

Suuuuuure you have.  YOU’VE seen it!  Well, that’s good enough for me.  I guess since YOU’VE seen refusal of service NOT happening, that means it never happens anywhere, ever, huh?

“Guess you don’t know about it after all.  I’m on the Canadian border.  Half of the patients in our American hospital cardiac wards are Canadians - paying cash.  This is not limited to cardiac issues.  It also includes knee, hip, and other issues.  They just built a new hospital in Buffalo, to accommodate the need caused by Canadians coming to America for treatment.  If we get a system that’s as bad as Canada’s, where do you expect Canadians to go for treatment?”—Nighthawk

Uh huh.  How laughably stupid!  If that is actually happening, then the Canadian government is reimbursing its own citizens for the out-of-pocket expense.  You wanna know how I know?  I’VE seen it!  I have a Brit friend currently living in the US whose dad is now a Canadian citizen.  A few years ago, he was injured during a visit and had to have surgery.  The Canadian healthcare system picked up 100% of the tab.  No hassle. No complaint. No delay.

Yes indeedy, folks, what we’ve got here is a wolf in shills clothing. 

Nighthawk,

What you’ve said in your post castigating Aquarius stands so far outside the realm of fact that I can only conclude you’re either an industry shill protecting your job or you’re a member of that peculiar species of moron known as the Bend-Over-And-Take-It Republicans. 

I bet you’ve even got your own blog too, don’tcha?

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By christian96, September 4, 2009 at 5:19 am Link to this comment

“Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the
afflicted and needy.  Deliver the poor and needy:
rid them out of the hand of the wicked.” Rep. Dennis
Kucinich of Ohio is the best person on Capitol hill
I am familiar with who reflects these values taught
in Psalm 82:3,4 of the Holy Bible.

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By Shift, September 4, 2009 at 4:56 am Link to this comment

We are walking through the valley of the shadow of death and death is approaching.  Death is everpresent.  The American death industry is thriving.  There is big money in death.  The death lobbyists have removed all life from health care reform.  From this day forward it will be known as “death reform.”

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By KDelphi, September 3, 2009 at 10:38 pm Link to this comment

the worm—the problem with that is that the Dems are NOT giving a a bill worth fighting for!

If they would promote HR 676, I’d show up at Town Hall Meetings and risk getting my ass shot. But not for HR 3200, with a very de-fanged “pubic plan”.

I (and many others)have been TRYING to promote single payer in this country for, literally ,decades, ever since I lived in Europe at a WorkCamp (like student exchange). I fought for it as a social worker for years. I am ready to fight for those who fight for me.

There would be an alternative to single payer that might be acceptable, which is used in the Netherlands, where health insurance is regulated like a utility (as are most things that are basic human need in civilized countries)

The people who are making arguments like Night Hawk dont give a damn if anyone else dies in the streets, so, you are right that arguing with them is a waste of type. Aquarius, I dont blame you for trying ; )

But I am not at all certain that our expensive gadgets have actually made us healthier—stats certainly dont show it. They have made the US the most expencsive in the world.

“..This first-of-its-kind portrait of the state of health care quality in the United States documents serious gaps in quality on many crucial dimensions of care: lack of preventive care, medical mistakes, substandard care for chronic conditions, and health care disparities.,,,”
http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Content/Publications/Chartbooks/2002/Apr/Quality-of-Health-Care-in-the-United-States—A-Chartbook.aspx

Netherlands where basic plans (they even cover dental) are about $80 a mo and the govt regulates quality as well as cost. (must be nice!)http://www.justlanded.com/english/Netherlands/Netherlands-Guide/Health/Healthcare

Fees of the basic package
The fees for the basic health insurance package are annually determined by the health insurance companies and are normally approximately €95 per month. Although the Ministry of Health ( Ministerie van Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport) determines a standard premium, the insurance companies determine the additions fee you will have to pay in the end by charging a certain rate and a no-claim charge. It is with these additional fees that the insurance companies compete with each other. There are various health insurance companies and a new law will make it easier to change between health insurance companies.

If you are required to purchase health insurance and are earning a salary, you will also pay a supplementary contribution from your income (rated 6.5% up to the first €30,000 of earnings; 4.4% for self-employed individuals).

For some, healthcare in the Netherlands has become more expensive as a result of the changes. The Dutch government compensates these cases by offering a care grant ( zorgtoeslag). The Tax Administration ( belastingdienst) determines if you are eligible by examining your income. Foreigners are also entitled to this grant if they qualify.”

Hmmm, even “foreigners”—I sure miss that civilized place.

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By the worm, September 3, 2009 at 9:43 pm Link to this comment

One of the advantages of the right wing ideologues is a complete and utter
disregard for truth, facts and veracity. Witness the following from one of the
‘bloggers’ on this site (Nighthawk, I believe): “40 to 60 cents of your health care
dollar go to either malpractice suits, or authorizing extra testing and
procedures to defend against malpractice suits.” From today’s Wall Street
Journal’s new pages:“It [i.e. total spending on medical malpractice] ... amounts
to a little more than 1% of total US health care spending….”  (See the article
Thursday, Sept 3, 2009.)
In the meantime, if the Dems want to ‘capture the debate’, they’re going to
have to speak clearly: Republicans and their minions are lying, telling lies -
plain and simple lies.
The Dems cannot ‘win’, if they are going to say ‘The Repubs are distorting’. No.
The Repubs are lying. Do not spend your time, denying Repubs’ lies; spend
your time telling the facts.
A great example of the consequences of spending Dem time denying Repubs
lies is a recent Christian Science Monitor health care article of fifteen
paragraphs.  With one paragraph an intro, seven quoting Dems and seven
quoting Repubs, the article appeared to be ‘fair and balanced’.  But, of the
seven paragraphs devoted to the Dems’ remarks, six were Dem responses to
Republican lies. Hence, of the fourteen paragraphs, thirteen included
Republican nonsense, either straight-up or by reference.
Grasping on to Republican and wing-nut lies (e.g. “40 to 60 cents of your
health care dollar go to either malpractice suits, or authorizing extra testing
and procedures to defend against malpractice suits.”) and trying to ‘respond to
them’ is simply buying into the script and playing the part the Republicans have
planned for you. The sadness is that Rahm and Axelrod and Obama’s political
advisors take the bait again and again and again.  Another indication the Dems
are over their heads - a serious disadvantage of the Democrats. Try seizing the
advantage: tell the truth, you can start by calling a lie a lie.

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By G.Anderson, September 3, 2009 at 9:28 pm Link to this comment

In 1994 it was estimated that about 100,000 people died every year from medical mistakes. It was decided then to try and half that amount by 2004. Instead the total is now 200,000 a year.

Your chances of being killed by your doctor are greater than being killed in a car accident.

All medicine has at this point is fear, fear that you’ll get sick and have no way to pay for your treatment, and lose everything you’ve got on the way to your grave, as so many do.

But forget about medicine helping you much, the FDA, and big pharm, and the so called health care industry have done everything possible to keep people from getting treatments that actually help.

While the food industry, and agri business, continually poison people with toxic food full of poison.

American medicine, no longer exists. I feel sorry for older doctors, who watched what became of it after the plutocracy took over.

American medicine is there such a thing? No it’a all about cashing in on the sick.

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By aquarius7251, September 3, 2009 at 9:12 pm Link to this comment

If you are opposed to Universal Health Care, take the time to read the information at these websites, reflect on it, then come back here and offer your alternative to Universal Health Care. But make sure your alternative guarantees affordable health care to each and every single American, rich or poor, with no exceptions.

http://cthealth.server101.com/the_case_for_universal_health_care_in_the_united_states.htm

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/09/02-5

http://www.pnhp.org/

http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2009/07/would-god-back-universal-health-care—religious-texts-give-us-a-good-idea-the-common-theme-dont-turn-your-back-on-th.html

I’m sure there’s much more out there - but I’m interested in hearing any and all GOOD ALTERNATIVES to Universal Health Care - alternatives that will work and are affordable.

In the meantime, I will vehemently oppose any bill that does not do right by every single American. I’m not interested in any of their half-assed compromises to appease insurance companies and drug companies and put money in the pockets of politicians.

Affordable health care for each and every single American - that should be the American dream. And it IS ACHIEVABLE!

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By keepyourheaddown, September 3, 2009 at 8:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

it’s over… got no hope…

the clintons were right, Obama is to naive, to inexperienced… too bad we lose…

the morons vote for corporations, how stupid do you have to be to believe the
LIES?

the people will get what they deserve… the democrats are all bought and paid for
as well…

I will never vote again this government is a PATHETIC JOKE!

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By aquarius7251, September 3, 2009 at 8:42 pm Link to this comment

Rollzone - your statement that the American medical industry is the envy of the world may be true in one respect - that of medical and technological advancement and research.

But I’ll tell you straight, if you think it is the envy of the world because of cost - that is a myth bigger than weapons of mass destruction in Iraq!

American healthcare is the MOST EXPENSIVE in the world, and Americans are forced to pay the higher price to subsidize the rest of the world that won’t put up with the high cost of drugs, medical equipment and medical supplies.

So the American medical system rips off the American people every which way to feed corporate greed.

As far as the government getting into it is concerned, TOO LATE! Heard of Medicare? What do you think that is? GOVERNMENT! And Medicaid? What do you think that is? GOVERNMENT!

Medicare and Medicaid were signed into law in 1965 and so far, they haven’t ruined our medical industry.

You think that illegal aliens are part of the problem? Perhaps they are - please tell us how to get them out of the system without you having to go pick oranges and apples and do the other hard labor many of them are renowned for. The USA is by no means the only country that has an illegal alien problem. There are more illegal Zimbabweans in South Africa than there are Zimbabweans left in Zimbabwe (thanks to Mugabe), and if the South African government did not provide low cost health care to them, I shudder to think of the possible or probable disease outbreaks that would result.

I grant you your right to be opposed to Universal Health Care - as long as you can offer a better alternative that will ensure affordable healthcare to every single American. It is their RIGHT - not a privelege, just as it is their right to receive an education, to be protected by law enforcement and to live a halfway decent and dignified life that does not end in bankruptcy, destitution and homelessness.

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By KDelphi, September 3, 2009 at 8:22 pm Link to this comment

rollzone—what if we do not want experimental procedures used on us in an emergency? Why should we be guinea pigs? There is nothing ‘natural” about the hugely expensive gadgets—they just cost alot of money, and earn alot of money. Researchers and drs should have to prove that they wi;l improve patients’ lives or let people (like you)be volunteer guinea pigs if they wish.

They have done “tort reform” im Texas and Va and a few other states. It dos not lower health care costs substantially. Thats just rich drs excuse to impede reform. It would have to go through the Judicial Subcommittee , which would slow it down even more than it is now. (which is ok with me, I want HR 676)

its a lame-ass bill anyway. The bill (one of four being proposed, (I assume you are talking about HR 3200) is NOT universal, and Obama wouldnt tax rich people if his life depended on it. So stop worrying about being asked to contribute to your country.

If you think that the US health care system is the envy of the world, you need to travel more.

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By MarthaA, September 3, 2009 at 8:10 pm Link to this comment

Right-Wing obfuscatory subjectivity.

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By rollzone, September 3, 2009 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment

hello. without providing fodder for the big cheer-leading sales pitch on prime time that could better be spent on a hundred kidney transplants: i would like to agree with your comment on tort reform. one reason ambulance chasers do so well is because Americans are live guinea pigs for medical advancement. doctors offer catastrophic cases experimental alternative choices based upon evaluated pertinent criteria. doctors use extremely expensive new experimental equipment and machinery to try to help their patient. their risk is sometimes a failure. sometimes many failures result in abandoning a procedure; only to be replaced by an improvement. these failures are bonanzas for greedy lawyers that are impeding the natural course of progress, by requiring malpractice insurance beyond reasonable practising parameters. too many good doctors no longer practice, creating an upward cycle of increasing health care costs: having to pay for mediocre physicians. this is only one plausible reason why the government should not be proposing a new tax (under the guise of health care) without tort reform. administrative reform; and outrageous, cruel, over-billing is another reason not being addressed. perhaps open interstate insurance competition: to make it more affordable- but do not allow the government to enter into an industry that is the envy of the world, because we all know government employees can not wipe themselves without paper provided by a Senate HELP committee, and they will ruin our medical industry. let’s get the millions of illegal immigrants out of our system. that will make it more affordable. nothing but lies- about what an improvement universal health care will be: by adding universal tax to our incomes. this, and the Al Gore energy initiative, are just money grabs: and it is not the type of HELP we need.

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By aquarius7251, September 3, 2009 at 7:50 pm Link to this comment

Nighthawk - I bow to your superior worldliness.

You must have a lot of time on your hands to be able to monitor the number of Canadians in your cardiac wards so carefully. Paying cash even. Now I wonder how those Canadians get their hands on that much cash?

Maybe they’re coming to Bufallo because it’s closer or more convenient than their nearest Canadian hospital; or because they are just spoilt Canadians who don’t like waiting in line and have too much money? But no - Nighthawk KNOWS the Canadian healthcare is BAAAAD! That’s why they come to Bufallo.

Wonder how many Americans go to Canada for healthcare, or get the same meds they get here at half the price from Canada?

I want you to please post a list of all the hospitals in Bufallo that will treat me free of charge. I’m gonna move there because only in my wildest dreams have I found any medical establishment that will treat me free of charge anywhere in the USA. Must be true though - ‘cos “you’ve seen it”.

Try getting free medical help if you’re destitute - but just happen to have one last thing left - your home!

No - I’m not talking about any specific catastrophic needs - just very expensive medical care that will eventually bankrupt you if you have no cover or insufficient cover.

And the countries I mentioned - well - I’ve lived in all of them and I’ve had medical care in all of them. The medical care was as good as it is here and often more caring - mainly because they are not scared stiff of being sued for malpractice at every turn, and they don’t have huge insurance premiums to protect themselves against malpractice suits.

Thankfully, we do agree on one thing - that reform is needed. And by the way - you left out the percentage of your healthcare dollar that goes to insurance and drug company profits and/or so-called administrative costs (read “enormous executive salaries and bonuses”).

We have an old saying where I come from. “Engage brain before opening mouth”, especially when you’re tempted to call someone stupid.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, September 3, 2009 at 7:14 pm Link to this comment

I have two words for you Nighthawk, obfuscatory sophistry.

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By KDelphi, September 3, 2009 at 7:04 pm Link to this comment

By Nighthawk, September 3 at 9:00 pm #


Wow!  You crammed a lot of stupidity into a pretty small space here Aquarius.

“The free market has resulted in 47 million Americans with no health insurance”

And strangely, no one is refused service.  Even if they cannot or will not pay


WOW!

I guess you cant get chemo or insulin in the ER can you? I have been treated in canada and it is at least as good as the US.WOW! People can wait for a hip replacement. If Buffalo wants to make money rather than serve its own citizens, have at it.

I have also lived in Europe—-their plan beats the uS in cost (by far!!) life expectancy, infant mortality and time missed from work for illnes. Their businesses can also compete in the world and they dont have to tack on a big surcharge to pay for employee health insurance.

Maybe you ought to hasve an IQ test before you come onto a site and tell people how stupid THEY are. With a coward like Obama in the WH, you guys win, so what are you worried about? I hope you get hit by a bus.

WOW! Nighthawk is hit by a bus!! Dont touch him, he doesnt have medical insurance!

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By Nighthawk, September 3, 2009 at 6:00 pm Link to this comment

Wow!  You crammed a lot of stupidity into a pretty small space here Aquarius.

“The free market has resulted in 47 million Americans with no health insurance”

And strangely, no one is refused service.  Even if they cannot or will not pay, the only threat that can be used against them is to hit their credit score.  Many do not care.  From the emergency room to normal office visits - I’ve seen it.

“and millions more who face bankruptcy if God forbid, they come down with a “dread disease”.”

And this is true even if they have VERY good health insurance.  You are talking about the need for catastrophic coverage.  Something that is not covered in the Government “option”.

“Universal health care WORKS - it works in the British Isles, Canada, France, Germany, even South Africa - and these are only the places I know about.”

Guess you don’t know about it after all.  I’m on the Canadian border.  Half of the patients in our American hospital cardiac wards are Canadians - paying cash.  This is not limited to cardiac issues.  It also includes knee, hip, and other issues.  They just built a new hospital in Buffalo, to accommodate the need caused by Canadians coming to America for treatment.  If we get a system that’s as bad as Canada’s, where do you expect Canadians to go for treatment?

What’s missing from all of this so called “reform” talk?

Tort reform. 

40 to 60 cents of your health care dollar go to either malpractice suits, or authorizing extra testing and procedures to defend against malpractice suits.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, September 3, 2009 at 5:35 pm Link to this comment

President Obama’s plan for health insurance reform is good for seniors, because reform…

... will STRENGTHEN Medicare. Reform will improve Medicare’s quality of care by cutting down on paperwork, focusing on wellness and prevention, and rewarding doctors for the care they provide instead of how many procedures they do. This all adds up to more choices and better care.

... will NOT cut our Medicare benefits. President Obama has clearly said, “nobody is talking about cutting Medicare benefits.” And AARP agrees that reform will simply eliminate billions in giveaways via the Medicare Advantage program that boost insurance company profits—but don’t help folks like us.

... will SAVE us money. Reform will close the doughnut hole in Medicare Part D that’s costing people so much money for prescription drugs, and eliminate co-pays for preventative care like cancer screenings and immunizations.

... will SAVE Medicare in the long run. If we do nothing, costs will keep rising and the Medicare trust fund will be at risk of going bust within a decade. Reform will save Medicare from bankruptcy and ensure we get the care we need for years to come.

... will HELP our loved ones. I have three children with pre-existing conditions. I live in fear that I will have to mortgage everything to pay for their care if they lose their jobs, and can’t get coverage. Reform will extend coverage for young people, stop insurance companies from charging women more or cutting care when you need it most. And most importantly to me, reform will make it illegal to deny coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

In so many ways, reform will help every American struggling with our health insurance system—especially seniors.

But insurance companies that want to protect their profits and partisan attack groups that want to weaken President Obama at any cost are spreading rumors to scare folks like us into opposing the reform we need. It’s outrageous.

Each of us probably knows at least one person who is uncertain about reform. So it’s up to us to let our friends and neighbors know that reform will help them, not hurt them.

You can start by forwarding this email to everyone you know today! You can also click here to print out a fact sheet for seniors that you can give to friends and family.

It’s so important to get the truth out about reform.

Thanks,

Connie L.

Florida Volunteer
Organizing for America

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By aquarius7251, September 3, 2009 at 4:23 pm Link to this comment

Here’s the answer - OUTLAW ALL LOBBYING.

Lobbying (meaning piles of money given to politicians in return for their vote against the people’s interests) is the root cause of all corruption.

Right now - all the protesting against a “universal” option or a “public” option is fueled by either insurance companies, drug companies, or other corporate interests that stand to lose some of their fat, greedy profits if the status quo changes.

To those who say leave things be and let the free market rule, I say “BULL”! The free market has resulted in 47 million Americans with no health insurance and millions more who face bankruptcy if God forbid, they come down with a “dread disease”.

Universal health care WORKS - it works in the British Isles, Canada, France, Germany, even South Africa - and these are only the places I know about.

So what if you have to wait in line - it’s better than dying from lack of care! And just show me one Brit, Canadian, Frenchie or German who has had to declare bankruptcy because he got sick or had a horrific accident.

The healthcare industry in America SUCKS! It sucks because of greedy corporations, greedy politicians and out of control corruption.

Tell me America leads the world in medical science and that we have the most advanced medical facilities anywhere, and I’ll tell you it doesn’t help me if I cannot afford it!

Until those lily-livered blubberbags on Capitol Hill are reigned in and stop giving our dollars away to greedy corporations in return for kickbacks, we’re doomed! We’ll NEVER have any meaningful health reform.

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By dihey, September 3, 2009 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment

Without a “public option” a passed “Health Reform Bill” will transfer taxpayer funds to the private insurance companies which President Obama accuses of bilking us.

Even with a “public option” in the bill, some tax funds will feed private insurance companies if persons who receive federal support chose to insure themselves with a private company.

Clearly “single payer” is the only honest, above-board, transparent Health Insurance System or very close to that.

Obama’s projected Health Insurance/Care System is one gigantic swindle. His speech to the joint Senate-House next week will not change that one bit. Obama will try to obfuscate with his traditional hot-air language.

If, as he claims, the Health Insurance/Care system is broken, why apply some band aid to keep it from totally disintegrating band-aids and all in the near future, which it will?

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By KDelphi, September 3, 2009 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment

Another item not being covered in the press is the ‘copmpromise” proposed by Blue Dogs and their allies to “make the public option kick in” if ‘insurance reforsm dont work”...what BS!!!It already doesnt work—we would be better off without the insurance industry, whether people had coverage or not! Doctors and hospitals could charge less. (I am for HR 676)

If Congress had the cajones to actually REGULATE the insurance industry, like another utility, we would have a system like the Netherlands. They dont.

Hulk—I dont think that expecting the govt to do things in the public interest is expecting too much. Otherwise we could just have them run the (privitized)military and be strict Constitutionalists—which the Ron Paul Libertarians would love. Every civilized country in the world does it. To think that our govt “cant” is just silly. They wont.

Allan—My sister’s just went up that drmatically, too. She had breast cancer.

bojan jocic-Industry loves your dumb ass! You should be able to refuse to pay taxes for health care when I can refuse taxes for war and charter religious schools. When Wall St gives everyone back their 401k and IRA. “welfare” for people is so tiny, compared to the subsidies we give industry, Wall St and big corporations , it is laughable to complain about.

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By "G"utless "W"itless Hitler, September 3, 2009 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment

Every single story posted on Truthdig brings out the same cast of bellyachers with the same tired observations.  Folks, there’s only one way to break an egg-sucking dog from sucking eggs.  If you people want to be taken seriously by the Wall Street Mammon Cult, if you don’t want to be written entirely out of the social contract, then you better shoot the dog.

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By bEHOLD_tHE_mATRIX, September 3, 2009 at 12:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A government of, for and by the people…. what a
pitiful illusion.  The greatest capitalocracy on earth
is the proper terminology. The American Dream has
consumed itself.

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By Mary Ann McNeely, September 3, 2009 at 12:36 pm Link to this comment

So-called health insurance reform will wind up being as phony as Obama himself.  This was intended all along.  The only question remaining is if the American public will quietly accept this BS, or of there will eventually be a backlash.  I suspect the sheep will simply roll over, pray that they don’t become seriously ill and go to sleep.

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By Big Jess, September 3, 2009 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nancy Bordier and Lost Hills have pretty much summed up the entire situation. However, I think that Lost Hills has unintentionally hit the nail right on the head in his/her last sentence…“they are walking corpses”. Just like “zombie banks”, I would like to offer the term “zombie Democrats”.

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By abbeyroad, September 3, 2009 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

BOJAN JOCIC   you are in the dark, ignorant and bigoted and being cuckholded by
the corporate oligarchy laughing behind your back, big fat CEO’s raking in 00
profits off premiums—some making $100,000k an hour and while middle class
salaries have stagnated for decades!  the ONLY country in the world where this sort
of absolute inhumanity and corruption is legal. in europe they know that a healthy
and educated society is a greater society so health care and education are free.
america is now the fattest DUMBEST nation and we will collapse because of people
like you who liked being screwed by people who’d just as soon see you dead.
you poor dope.

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tropicgirl's avatar

By tropicgirl, September 3, 2009 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment

Of course I meant un-intended consequences of his PR schemes. I would love to
know the person at the PR helm. This person should be rendered “unemployable”.

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By Kay Johnson, September 3, 2009 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment

I, for one, am not fooled by the talk about a public option. From the beginning, Obama made it clear that single-payer was off the table, and not even close to the table. Then, up came the “public option.” Obama’s plan has always been vague, and therefore, it’s very easy to keep the public confused.

I didn’t vote for Obama—his Fisa vote alerted me, and then, during the campaign he made it very clear that he was going to escalate the war in Afghanistan. There’s more, but enough said!

“We think we’re free but most of us are just running in place so that the people at the the top can enjoy life.”—Cathy

I agree with you! 

A few days ago, I received an e-mail from Health Care Now, and they are organizing to march in NYC for “SINGLE-PAYER” health care on Saturday, September 12, 2009. The e-mail told me that people are meeting at 9:30 AM at 44th Street and 5th Avenue. Signs will be available.

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tropicgirl's avatar

By tropicgirl, September 3, 2009 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment

Obamas stunningly inept PR team, the people that never consider intended
consequences, have made the most ridiculous mistake yet. Now, everyone that
was previously NOT scared that Obama and other government forces will
interfere with their private lives, ARE NOW. It wasn’t enough to scare the old
people, now he is scaring parents.

I guess tv images of people “protecting” their children from Obama, by keeping
them home and protesting, doesn’t bother the Obama team? Absolutely
stunning. My advertising students could do better.

This health reform (or whatever it is) scheme will not work. Its dead because it
makes absolutely no sense to anyone.

Asking health insurers to cover everyone with pre-existing conditions is
ridiculous. It would be like asking Geiko to accept people who have already had
accidents. No one can make money that way and it shows the dishonesty here.
Its just going to stimulate them to be more crooked. The insurance companies
should only be required to cover people without conditions, like Aflac, with
generous benefits.

Most of all Obama missed the mark with his “saving money” and “managed
care/limited care” panel ideas. The conservatives did America a favor here.
This is a very old-fashioned, cynical, depraved conception of health care. The
trend NOW is toward highest quality care. Look at some of the Cancer Centers
and some of the doctors hospitals and other first class facilities. This is what
people want.

No one cares about saving money. Medicare recipients want MORE care, and
they should have it. Requiring insurance companies to save money (is that what
he is doing? No one knows) is like giving them a license to further abuse
patients. Who is he saving money for? The government?

Everyone, the right and left, especially the right and left against the wars know
that all the government has to do is to stop one of the current invasions to
cover everyone with health care. We already know that he has stuffed the
pockets of Wall Street, with our tax dollars, enough to cover everyone with
health care. And the spiking burden on Medicare will be over as soon as they
baby boom has gone through the system. The government needs to stop
raiding the fund.

Obama’s health care advisors are relics of the Nixon days. They are so
pathetically cynical about reforming health care, so hopeless, so infected with
negative forces, dumping patients and “crazy doctor” ideas, so uninspiring, so
absolutely ridiculous in their arguments that even the most sincere supporters
are turning their backs now.

The conservatives know this. They are not as supportive of health corporations
as Rush Limbaugh or Glen Beck. They do not support “no change”. Many, many
conservatives believe in single payer. Forget the public option. But the Obama
team is so stupid that they cannot even make a convincing arguments to the
conservative people (not the neocons) to recognize this. Conservatives do not
support the neocons wholeheartedly anymore. They are just more interesting to
listen to at times. But it is truly pathetic to watch Obama run from the
conservative media, as if they represent the voters, and alternately make them
famous by giving them more air time recognition than they can imagine. Even
the most junior PR practitioner knows this. Free positive air time from the other
side? They literally launched Sara Palins career. Stunning.

Anyone with a pre-existing condition should be covered by single payer
(Medicare). Let the insurance companies have the healthy.

But Obama can’t sell anything because he talks another language from the
American people, and his plan is dishonest and deeply flawed in its
fundamental concepts and solutions, advised by “crazy” doctors who do not
share the American values. Failure here is a good thing, but I have to repeat, I
am totally stunned at the ease at which it fell apart with a little challenge by
average Americas, but I am thankful.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, September 3, 2009 at 11:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yesterday morning on NPR someone who has written an
authorized biography of Henry Paulson (I don’t
remember his name) was being interviewed by one of
their reporters and he said that Paulson told him
that he wished Barney Frank were a republican because
he did such a good job in getting the bailout bill
through the house last summer.  He seemed to be
implying that it was the kind of bill that
republicans would get behind and that he was
surprised that the democratic leadership worked so
hard for it, coming as it did from a republican
administration.
So it isn’t just progressives who believe that the
democrats have sold out, the power structure on wall
street is well aware of it.  There really is only one
party in the country and only the most naive
democrats and republicans aren’t aware of it.

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By abbeyroad, September 3, 2009 at 10:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

i don;t understand why obama hasn’t come out and compared the public option to other public programs like public schools, libraries, museums, the fire and police dept,the army, FDA, EPA etc. do these brown shirts against the public option for basic health care also want to eliminate all of our education and protection services? or just health care? we’re the ONLY country in the world with a for-profit health care system which used to be against the law til reagan took office. the only country without a national health care program. isn’t it obvious why? the problem is the opposition has used racism to veto anything obama wants and the american people are still ignorant,  naive and racist.

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By glider, September 3, 2009 at 10:28 am Link to this comment

This comment from the Kip Sullivan linked in this article sums up the hypocrisy of the Democratic Party and their phoney liberalism.

http://pnhp.org/blog/2009/08/08/reply-to-critics-of-“bait-and-switch-how-the-‘public-option’-was-sold”/

Paraphrasing,
>>Conservatives never base their opposition to single-payer on the ground that it is “politically infeasible.” They oppose single-payer on policy and say so. The “political feasibility” argument is used by proponents of universal health insurance who profess to admire single-payer systems but refuse to support it. Merton Bernstein and Ted Marmor refer to these people as “political yes buts”.<<

I am starting to prefer that Dem progressives in Congress shoot this sorry ass bill down and use it as a poster child to start a new political movement within the party.  In the future I will be voting for Dem progressives or 3rd party candidates only.  The “yes buts” will no longer get my vote and will only be seeing my 3rd finger.

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By Jon, September 3, 2009 at 9:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We’re being suckered by the meme ‘public option.’  And all I hear is that Obama wants ‘competition and choice.’  What does this mean?

I recently looked up via my home owner’s insurance company ‘Dental Insurance’ and was sent to a page listing about 10/11 options, none offered by my carrier, but by others such as Cigna.  And there were NO crisp details, only statements like “save from 10 to 28% on dental care.”  Hardly what I call comprehensive dental coverage.

This is what the ‘public option’ probably means at the White House—-a pile on of existing insurers, offering ‘from 10 to 28% off’ on medical coverage, as if you are on ebay looking for a Tumi case, searching through 100 listings.

Face it, Americans are not citizens, but ‘consumers’ to be used as ATM machines by corporations, whether it is via credit cards, mortgages (you HAVE a mortgage, you don’t OWN a house), and health care.  This is the only growth industry: getting that discretionary income left over after the middle class pays the majority of all U.S. taxes (since corporations are afforded huge breaks).

The insurers and financial industry have learned how to own Americans, just like slavery in the ‘good ol days.’

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By bojan jocic, September 3, 2009 at 8:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t get it ? I am sick of hearing about the poor and fat lazy scum who
choose not to work. I am done paying for you bums. Right now I don’t have
health ins haven’t for 2 years I had a uti and it cost me 2 grand to take care
of it. Do you hear me bitching? No! I paid out of my pocket end of story. I
am about to open a buisness and I will be damned if I am going to offer
ins. Health care is not a right! Food is not a right! Education , housing, clean
air and anything els has to be worked for. And for all you animals who get
food stamps and free livin cange is comin.  Imo if you don’t produce for the
country you should be put to sleep

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Allan Krueger's avatar

By Allan Krueger, September 3, 2009 at 8:14 am Link to this comment

Just got my BCBS letter telling me that my premiums will be increased 31.5% in October! This just proves lobbyists can buy anyone and anything! FUCK ME!

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By Hulk2008, September 3, 2009 at 8:13 am Link to this comment

Nancy,  Obama is not the problem.  You could just vote for Nader and set aside the effort to build a “New Political Party”.  Face it.  Each time we vote at local levels or nationally, it’s just a case of hold-your-nose-and-pull-the-level.  Every “party” sacrifices its own principles just to get elected - the corporate big wheels require it.  Mitch McConnell calls corporate influence “free speech”; so big money always talks louder than any human could.
  Until people realize that there are many things which cannot be solved by either big business or government, the problems will continue.  Most human problems are far more complex than can be handled by a single solution.  Maslow was right: if the only tool you have is a hammer, you will treat everything as if it were a nail. 
  Technically speaking, having a paid professional army instead of an army of civilian soldiers is “socialism”.

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By LostHills, September 3, 2009 at 8:11 am Link to this comment

Most people that I talk to don’t realize what’s happening here: that we’re about to all be ordered to go out and buy medical insurance whether we want to or not. “Health Care Reform” sounds like great concept, but when they start to realize they’re about to be saddled with another monthly bill, the glow falls off of the pumpkin real fast. And when people who already have employer provided insurance start to realize that they are going to get taxed on it, and/or pay a bigger share of it they get very upset. If this boondoggle gets passed, they are going to see it as another huge giveaway to the rich, and it will destroy the Democratic party. Ironically, the Republicans, who killed off real health care reform for us, will be the ones to benefit.

The Democrats have already destroyed themselves with this issue by building it up as a “must do” acheivement. They will be failures if they don’t pass it, and they will piss off the electorate if they pass something that’s bad. And there is absolutely no chance that any health care “reform” produced by this congress will be good for our country. As I said, they have alredy destroyed themselves. They are walking corpses….

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By Nancy Bordier, September 3, 2009 at 7:59 am Link to this comment

Let’s Start a New Political Party to Defeat Obama in 2012

Let’s face it. Obama and the Democrats in Congress who are in charge of health care reform are corporate shills for the private insurance industry. They have been dangling a watered-down version of a “public option” for months with no intention to actually include one in the health care reform legislation they are crafting in defiance of public opinion, which favors a single payer plan.

What they are trying to do is create so much confusion and conflict that they can pass legislation that forces all Americans to buy private insurance that inflates the profits of the industry.

Obama and the his Democratic fellow-travelers in Washington are no different from the Republicans in their willingness to flout the popular will and sacrifice American lives and well-being to the profits of their corporate campaign contributors.

They are proof positive that regardless of which party controls Congress and the White House, the American people get shafted by influence peddling lawmakers, thanks to the legalized bribery permitted by U.S. campaign finance laws.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that there is an emerging progressive majority of American voters that can easily take control of Congress and the White House in 2012 if progressive activists join forces to form a third party.

Howard Dean, in alliance with MoveOn, Progressive Democrats of America, organized labor, etc. could take the lead in starting such a party with his Democracy for America, which has on-the-ground organizing units in every Congressional district.

Backward looking political cowards who are afraid of their shadows love to point out that third parties have always failed in the past. But that’s because prior third parties did not have an electoral base as large as the emerging progressive majority, or web-based tools that empower progressives to wrest control of electoral and legislative processes from special interests virtually over night.

Nor did third parties have an electoral base like the emerging progressive majority whose members are infuriated at seeing their health and well-being so blatantly sacrificed to corporate profiteering, as Obama and his Congressional Democratic henchmen are doing.

Nor did they did not have an electoral base of voters infuriated by a president of the United States who picked their pockets to enrich corrupt bankers and financiers. Obama and his Wall Street bandits Summers, Geithner and Bernanke have put $24 trillion of public money on the line to bail out private banks.

For those who think they can empower progressives to get control of government by working within the two party system that elected Obama and the traitorous Blue Dog Democrats to Congress, more power to you.

But I am increasingly convinced that the only hope is to create a third party to provide a home for the emerging progressive majority. Only a new party could craft a winning progressive platform that could enable it and its candidates to wrest control of government from the plutocracy that Obama and his fellow-travelers in Congress have put securely in control of our government.

With bottom up, agenda-setting and self-mobilizing tools such as my Interactive Voter Choice System (http://www.reinventingdemocracy.us/default.htm#IVCS”>), a new progressive party would be voter driven rather than special interest driven. It would be democratically responsive to the American people in a way that no political party has ever been. Best of all, it could throw the bums out in just a couple of election cycles without having to change any election laws or campaign finance laws.

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By Cathy, September 3, 2009 at 7:42 am Link to this comment

This isn’t directly related to health care, but it is another glimpse of how the rest of the industrialized world operates.  This is an essay by David Bouchier.  I’ve been a fan of his for years.  He lives about 15 minutes from me on Long Island.  Born and raised in the U.K., he came here in the 80s, as he had married an American.  I listened to him speak last year about the year 1968.  He was in university at the time so he spoke about his excellent free university education in the U.K.  I was envious.  I have 45 credits towards an Associates that I simply couldn’t afford to finish—but I am still paying off the loan.  I was in my 40s.  I am convinced that my country is seriously f***ed up.  Here is David’s five-minute commentary from this past Monday on WSHU-FM.  When you read this you might also say to yourself it’s not just the universal health care that keeps people in Europe surpassing us in health and longevity, it’s the way they live life: 

http://wshu.org/calendar/essay/rundown.php?ID=1637

I realize that nothing is total nirvana, but I just believe the lifestyle of the vast majority of Americans is a life of subserviance to corporations—making a living simply to exist and never really being able to stop and enjoy life.  We think we’re free but most of us are just running in place so that the people at the the top can enjoy life. 

To make this relevant to this excellent article, however, I believe true universal health care is the first step getting real freedom for Americans. 

There was a story on News 12 Long Island this morning about young people and lack of insurance.  One girl had to quit the job she was at—her dream job—in order to try to find one that had insurance.  How is that freedom—or put better—the pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

This is one of the ways universal single-payer health care could—and should—have been sold.  It’s honest.  Keith Olbermann brought this up in a Special Comment shortly before Obama was elected—health care for all is freedom.

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By Mike789, September 3, 2009 at 6:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As has been made plain, the American public can be cudgelled into believing the Sun rises in the East.

Sticking with the status quo is much easier than challenging the extortionist commoditizing of healthcare insurers.  The public has been turned 180 degrees out into believing it is more in their interest to reaffirm the corporate model and resist any reform that might indeed benefit themselves.

“For profit insurers” whose practices of denial and cherry-picking the healthy (while accruing profits that have grown 428% since yr2000) is made to seem less pernicious by the assumption that the loudest voice is the best purveyor of the truth.

However beguiling the histrionics, the strategy of putting pivotal budgetary reform issues on the back burner, (which is the desire of laissez-faire coddled corporate interests) while knowing full well the future consequences, is typical of the unsustainable mercantile model which puts every household $10k in debt. All this so that already wealthy CEO’s can have a fifth vehicle or their second yacht.

We pay twice the cost of any other modern ecomomy for drugs and medical equipment and are ranked 37th because it’s what the compliant market has been shown to bear and what the public has been rallied to defend.

Facing up to a realistic goal of “pay-go” is swamped in the immediacy of K-Street largesse. 

Today’s NYTimes’ Kristoff op-ed is exceptional.

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By the worm, September 3, 2009 at 6:24 am Link to this comment

There is an option, always off-the-table, that would achieve all the expressed
goals. The rest is simply manipulation to bring profits back to big health insurers
- remember Harry Reid who is for a public option as long as it’s not operated by
the government?
Spreading democracy, we have government hired and government paid for
sadistic mercenaries in Afghanistan.  Reforming health care we will have
government hired and government paid for profit-driven health insurance
mercenaries.
So, that’s what a majority of Democrats ‘buy you’. 
When the Dems say ‘they had no choice’, remember, the choice was rejected.
There is a single payer option that will achieve savings, universal coverage and
put more health care dollars directly into health care. Put it on the table.

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By Rodger Lemonde, September 3, 2009 at 6:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Single payer sounds good to me.
All the horror stories we hear are based on projecting
the faults of the current system on any form of change.

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By bane-richter, September 3, 2009 at 5:24 am Link to this comment

The 4th estate is proudly assisting in the destroying quality of life in the USA. Reading Dionne’s feigned surprise that most voices have been marginalized by Big Media in the so-called debate, is enough to make people wonder whether big Corporate Writers aren’t just completely insane. Or in Dionne’s case, if he began to “really” report he’d be out of his job, and his nice house in Chevy Chase, MD.
The Washington Pot has done a superlative effort in quelling the potential spread of single payer, profits must not be threatened, and they won’t be. 
Kucinich’s plan, or legislation, is the stuff of fantasy. It sounds really good, but won’t work. The States would rely completely on Federal Funding for single payer, they cannot do it themselves - being brutally in the red to begin with.

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By DHFabian, September 3, 2009 at 5:10 am Link to this comment

Rep. Kucinich does have a long record of consistently being a step ahead.

Isn’t it time for the US to stop its slide backwards in time, and join the modern nations in the 21st century? Much of the world regards healthcare as a fundamental human right, not a privilege for the rich.
The US simply can’t remain competitive in the world market without universal health care, and sometimes we must put the well-being of the nation ahead of the wants of the few rich and powerful.

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By marcus medler, September 3, 2009 at 1:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is starting to show, at least to me that Obama
intends to join Clinton in the 200 million dollar
club, after doin time in the oval. He and his
family will have health care and a pension but the
rest of us? bait and switch is too kind. I like “we
have been had”!

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