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Obama’s Health Care Bill Is Enough to Make You Sick

Posted on Jul 11, 2010
White House / Pete Souza

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

Obama’s numerous betrayals—from his failure to implement serious environmental reform at Copenhagen, to his expansion of the current wars, to his refusal to create jobs for our desperate class of unemployed and underemployed, to his gutting of public education, to his callous disregard for the rights of workers and funneling of trillions in taxpayer money to banks—is a shameful list. Passing universal, single-payer nonprofit health care for all Americans might have delivered to Obama, who may well be a one-term president, at least one worthwhile achievement. Single-payer nonprofit health care has widespread popular support, with nearly two-thirds of the public behind it. It is backed by 59 percent of doctors. And it would have helped roll back, at least a bit, the corporate assault on the citizenry. 

Medical bills lead to 62 percent of personal bankruptcies, and nearly 80 percent of these people had insurance. The U.S. spends twice as much as other industrialized nations on health care, $8,160 per capita. Private insurance bureaucracy and paperwork consume 31 percent of every health care dollar. Streamlining payment through a single nonprofit payer would save more than $400 billion per year—enough, PNHP estimates, to provide comprehensive, high-quality coverage for all Americans.

Candidate Obama promised to protect women’s rights under Roe. v. Wade, something this legislation does not do. He told voters he would create a public option and then refused to consider it. The health care reform bill, to quote a statement released by PNHP, has instead “saddled Americans with an expensive package of onerous individual mandates, new taxes on workers’ health plans, countless sweetheart deals with the insurers and Big Pharma, and a perpetuation of the fragmented, dysfunctional, and unsustainable system that is taking such a heavy toll on our health and economy today.”

“Obama said he was going to have everybody at the table,” Redmond said, “but that was a lie. Our voice was not allowed to be there. There was a blackout on our movement. We did not get media attention. We did actions all over the country but we could not get coverage. We had the ‘Mad as Hell Doctors’ go across the country in a caravan, and they had rallies and meetings. If that had been a bunch of AMA Republican doctors, Anderson Cooper would have been on the caravan reporting live. NPR would have done a series. Instead, they did not get much coverage. And neither did the sit-ins and arrests at insurance companies, although we have never seen that level of activity. They turned us into a fringe movement, although poll after poll shows that the majority of people want some kind of single-payer system.”


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Our for-profit health system is driven by insurance companies whose goal is to avoid covering the elderly and the sick. These groups, most in need of medical care, diminish profits. Medicare, paid for by the government, removes responsibility for many of the old. Medicaid, also paid for by the government, removes the poor people, who have a greater tendency to have chronic health problems. Hefty premiums, which those who are seriously ill and lose their jobs often cannot pay, remove the very sick. If you are healthy and employed, which means you are less likely to need expensive or complex treatment, the insurance companies swoop down like birds of prey. These corporations need to control our perceptions of health care. Patients must be viewed as consumers. Doctors, identified as “health care providers,” must be seen as salespeople.

Insurance companies, which will soon be able to use billions in taxpayer dollars to bolster their lobbying efforts and campaign contributions, know that single-payer nonprofit insurance means their extinction. And they will employ considerable resources to make sure single-payer nonprofit coverage is denied to the public. They correctly see this as a battle for their lives. And if human beings have to die so they can survive, they are willing to make us pay this price.

The for-profit health care industry, along with the Democratic Party, consciously set out to confuse the public debate. It created Health Care for America NOW! in 2008 and provided it with tens of millions of dollars to supposedly build a public campaign for a public option. But the organization had no intention of permitting a public option. The organization was, as Dr. Flowers said, “a very clever way to distract members of the single-payer movement and co-op some of them. They told them that the public option would become single payer, that it was a back door to single payer, although there was no evidence that was true.” 

Physicians for a National Health Plan attempted to fight back. It worked with a number of organizations under a coalition called the Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Health Care. The group, which included the National Nurse’s Union and Health Care Now, sought meetings with members of Congress. Flowers and other advocates asked Congress members to include them in committee debates about the health care bill. But when the first debate on the health care reform took place in the Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Sen. Max Baucus, a politician who gets over 80 percent of his campaign contributions from outside his home state of Montana, they were locked out. Baucus invited 41 people to testify. None backed single payer. 

The Leadership Conference, which represents more than 20 million people, again requested that one of their members testify. Baucus again refused. When the second committee meeting took place, Flowers and seven other activists stood one by one in the room and asked why the voices of the patients and the health care providers were not being heard. The eight were arrested and removed from the committee hearing.

Single-payer advocates were eventually heard on a few of the House and Senate committees. But the hearings were a charade, part of Washington’s cynical political theater. It was the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyists who were in charge. They dominated the public debate. They wrote the legislation. They determined who received lavish campaign contributions and who did not. And they won. 

“We are talking about life and death, about the difference between living your life and dying,” Redmond said. “And once again it came down to the Democratic Party trumping the needs of the people.”

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By Green Smoke Reviews, January 2, 2012 at 8:49 pm Link to this comment

I recently read articles of Obama trying to quit smoking and actually wondered if the reports of him having totally stopped are true. Because we do not know who to trust anymore, the media reports have become words with an agenda, perhaps to cover up the truth that makes people reel in shock, but this report on truthdig really made my heart wrench.

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katsteevns's avatar

By katsteevns, June 3, 2011 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

“45,000 Americans died last year because they could not get the proper medical care. The for-profit health care industry , like the defense industry, makes money from death and suffering. It is legally permitted, in this country, to hold a sick child hostage while their families frantically bankrupt themselves to save their sons or daughters.
    Any discussion of health care should acknowledge the fact that our for-profit health care is the problem and must be destroyed.” - Chris Hedges

How Corporations Destroyed American Democracy - Chris Hedges.

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By David, August 17, 2010 at 8:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We in this country are very stupid and if they think health care reform is going to change everything then were really stupid. This is going to kill the economy and the people. Help the people that need insurance, but don’t kill ours. Lets start to think in Washington instead of thinking your above everyone. Your no better than the next person, but by putting health care through your dumber than we are. Let China come over and take over or is the the Jimmy Carter era again.

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By garth, July 21, 2010 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

But, I must add that Obama is a funster in the modern sense.

G.W. was a funster of the old school, forcing his Chief of Staff, some dimwit whose name I cannot remember now, to go for a bicycle ride even though the he had a broken arm or something to that effect.

In Obama an funsterism, he sends the Mrs., Michelle remember her, to Louisiana and what does she do?  She dances on the beach as if she’s in a Viagra or a Cialis commercial and promises to return.

Fat chance I’d say.

Next, she high-tails it to the Maine coast. And she and Uncle Obama with their two brats in tow are shown walking up a slight incline to view the ocean.  Government footage.


All this brouhaha about racism, the NAACP and FOX is just that, brouhaha. 

Any time they to want to muddle things up they introduce racism, abortion, gay’s in the military,  the deficit (Although that seems a little lame given the past statements of Big Dick Cheney that deficits are not important.) teho’ism (As an Israeli would pronounce it), and finally, our own brand of right-wing screwball who’s willing to spend the rest of his life in jail or get killed in a shootout.

But in the midst of all this are the seeds of insanity sown in our law enforcement throughout the nation.


White New Orleans Policemen shot and killed blacks trying to find food after Katrina.

A SF transit officer shot and killed a young black who was face down and handcuffed.

A New York City Policeman walked across a city street and pushed a cyclist to the ground.

I noticed that these types of incidences have been reported on the back pages for a few years.  Now, a lot of the members of the current police force are veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Is this the war coming home?  Are we the enemy?

Does civil control of the military and of the police mean anything anymore?

How’s your health?  Better be good because, if not, you are in for a ride you won’t forget.

Kiss you expectations good bye.  My fellow Americans

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By garth, July 21, 2010 at 7:21 am Link to this comment

Obama has revealed himself.  He is a moderate-liberal-conservative Republican.


He said we can’t move too drastically to Single-payer that it would be too great a change, an upheaval, even.  My guess is that he never heard of Medicare.


He’s for gays in the armed services and a woman’s right to abortion.  Those items are just the price of admission to the liberal wing. 
Now here’s my problem with that stance.  The right for a woman to get an abortion is linked to her right to privacy.  But when it comes to the Patriot Act, which Obama continued, no one can assume any right to privacy even in your own home.
Do I sense a contradiction that serves the masters, here?


He’s for the war in Afghanistan. He’s so weak that with Netanyahu’s urging, he might go for an invasion of Iran.  And with Hillary’s nose for news, he might be forced to “get tough” with North Korea.  (Imagine that.  The press paints a picture of the leader of North Korea as being a fool.  Yet, he has us wrapped around the axle when it comes to what to do about the peninsula and its access to the sea.)

Obama’s management of war is par for the course of all past Presidents—wraps himself in the flag and tries to pretend he’s serious.

Is there a real Democrat out there?

Note:  Small and mid-sized companies in Massachusetts are jettisoning their health insurance coverage for workers.  They say it’s just too damn expensive. 

To Obama, nice play, Shakespeare.

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By Sally G, July 20, 2010 at 7:36 pm Link to this comment

Go Right Young Man,
You say “Fact:  Health service are, on average, 20% more expensive if billed to Medicare/Medicaid than those same services billed to an employer-based insurance consumer.  A whopping 40% more than the cost to a cash paying health services consumer.”
Do you have documentation for this?
The Medicare administrative-cost rate is about 3–4% (compared to about 5–6 times that [20–30%] for private insurance companies), it seems that every year Congress plays the game of “We’re cutting Medicare rates 20%; oh, all right, we’ll leave them alone (rarely an increase)”, while hospitals bill at exorbitant rates only to settle with insurance companies for a mere fraction of the billed amount.
Take another look at single-PAYER plans: the only thing that changes is who pays the bills, and freedom to see whichever professional you choose.  Everyone in one risk pool makes the whole system affordable; fragmenting the population by employer, age, disability, etc, only increases the cost on those not in perfect health.  I will continue the Single-Payer, Improved and Expanded Medicare for All fight—supporters of that program are among the very few that offer hard facts and statistics; the others all seem to offer just reassuring “promises”.

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By Sodium-Na, July 17, 2010 at 7:55 am Link to this comment

Re: garth,July 13 at 1:30 pm.

garth wrote in response to my earlier post:


Sha…na na na…na na na Sodium Na,


“I am willing to even vote Republican,if the Republican Party nominates somebody as HONEST AND WITH MORAL aUTHORITY,not exactly,but close enough TO THE HONESTY AND MORAL AUTHORITY OF President Dwight Eisenhoweras its candidate.”

And keep jerkin’ off in front of a mirror if that makes you feel better.


I apologize for my tardiness in responding to your comment,“And keep jerkin’off in front of a mirror if that makes you feel better.” I have family obligations that limit the time I may spend behind the computer. Whatever time I could spare,I had spent it looking for information about the “jerkin’” you mentioned in your above comment that had the touch of sarcasm!! It is okay. I am used to this shit!!

The reason I am taking my time to respond to your above comment is to inform you of what I could find about your “jerkin”:

~ I have a collection of books written exclusivly about President Dwight Eisenhower.

~ I checked the index of every book I have about Eisenhower,looking for your “jerkin’”. I could find none whatsoever.

~ I have checked the Internet also. I have found a sex scandal that occurred “in October 1964,when Walter Jenkins,LBJ’s(President Lyndon Bains Johnson)trusted friend and top advisor,was arrested for having gay sex in a YMCA men’s room mere blocks from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”,meaning: President Johnson’s White House. That is the closest I could find about your “jerkin’”. As you may see,I have found about “Jenkins”,not “jerkin’”.


Could it be that you meant “Jenkins”,not “jerkin’”??  Please advise. Thank you.

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By Old Man Turtle, July 15, 2010 at 9:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Both “garth” and “radson” jump to a wrong conclusion below about me and “TAO Walker” being the same Person.  They shouldn’t feel singled-out, though, because even people who’ve known us both for much of our long lives still get us confused with each other.  I didn’t mean to single-out “radson,” either, about the futility of voting, but was careful to acknowledge that many still feel there’s some beneficial result can come of it, even though in my estimation “the record” to-date argues strongly otherwise.

Looking back over the several entries “garth” has added to this discussion, it appears he or she is indeed feeling, as admitted below, much “frustration” with both her-or-his own “individual” situation and the general deterioration of living conditions these days.  As for “TAO Walker”‘s education, I know for a fact he never went past fourth grade at BIA boarding school, where he learned to read and write.  I never went to any school at all, but my nephew taught me to read and write, and the former is something I’ve done a lot of to this day.  This writing (rather, typing) is entirely of the hunt-and-peck variety, however, and it takes a long time on the local library computer, or like right now on one of the GrandKid’s laptops, to get much “said.”

I’m quite certain “TAO Walker” never appeared on any radio or TV program, nor would he try to “pass” as any “psychologist.”  So far as him having any set-to with “garth” who was using some other name at the time, it seems unlikely, especially if whoever that was had made fun of “garth”‘s other name.

It remains for both me and my nephew a curious thing how despite a great deal of clarifying description and explanation from (now) us both, that what some among our Native Peoples call “The Tiyoshpaye Way” is still categorized by most domesticated people as merely “philosophy.”  Again to try and disabuse anyone making that mistaken assumption, “Tiyoshpaye” is just a D-/L-/Nakotah word referring to what we recognize as the basic organic form of Humanity within the Natural Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth.  We have a given organic function within the Living Arrangement, as vital components in Her immune system, which can no more be fulfilled by random collections of “individuals” than some puddle of cardiac cells can fulfill that of a Heart.  It is to our People just a plain biological fact, like breathing in and out or a man and a woman getting together in that certain Way to bring a new Human Being into the Tiyoshpaye, and into the Nation of which it is a constituent part.

As I said below, though, our domesticated Sisters and Brothers are “programmed” to pigeonhole things in what is a pretty impoverished range of possibilities.  So saying however plainly and tersely to them that “civilization” is actually a disease, and so too is their own dear “individual”-ity, probably can’t make it intact through the filters their own formal and informal “education” has installed as “gatekeepers” of their mental faculties. 

Which is yet another good reason to just quit bothering them with such things.  So again, Good Luck!

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By radson, July 15, 2010 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment


I am cognizant to what you wrote and yes its quite obvious that Tao of Turtle island are the same beings .There remain certain questions -philosophical - in a sense that Tao promotes that are pertinent ,
yet never described beyond the philosophical aspect .The idea or ideology of a closely knit community has its merits ,yet the assumption that the world will resort to a resumption of a thousand year old
life style is rather far fetched in this day and age ,unless of course a great war leads us to such a fate and the tribes can have a new beginning ,perhaps a certain revenge in a sense .I personally have a great
deal of respect for the indigenous people, north American not withstanding ,but what interests me the most is the balance between nature and the gifts of self sustainability that maintained these ancient societies.


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By garth, July 15, 2010 at 1:08 pm Link to this comment

And the pied piper came an led them away.

Old Man Turtle, Tao Walker, they’re both the same. 

A name, a Rousseauvian lure, to a simpler way and a simpler time that really never existed.

Wisdom comes to you when you stop and think for yourself.  It might not be the wisdom of some half-baked, self-poclaimed indigenous American who was educated to be a psychologist, but it will be yours. 

And that is what matters.

His input is sought after on other threads.  About taxes if you can believe that.

But I tell you, don’t stop at ideas of charlatans. 

I used to go by the handle, Bertil and I criticized Tao Walker for his comments that seemed to shine with a shit-eating grin about yankees who were going broke after the crash of 2008.  He purported to be a red man with all the “deep” answers.

When he retaliated he talked about my handle, Bertil, with reference to James Joyce’s “Ulysses.”

To Tao, the name was assigned to me, you mackerel.

Earlier though you sounded like the persona I heard on the Thom Hartmann Show.  You passed yourself off as a native American who became a psychologist.

Please read, “Madness on the Couch” by Edward Dolnick.

It’s amazing to me how any people, Americans especially, can assign such faith in the imagined wisdom of some clown just because they are from a different culture or from a minority. 

Listen, yes.  Think about it, mais oui, but come to your own conclusions.

Use you own friggin ’ mind.

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By radson, July 15, 2010 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment

Old Man Turtle

Thanks for the reply and your never ending reminder of pessimism -eponymous ‘ism’-.My mention of the right to vote was intended as an open question ,not necessarily as a solution ,hence the choice of ‘not
to vote’ ,your reference to Einstein and his definition of ‘insanity’ could be combined with Einstein’s most infamous theory which in essence could be categorized as MAD -in Reagan’s terminology-.The Tiyoshpaye
way of life is a philosophical ideology that can be applied to any society and the benefits are immense within the fellowship of the citizens .Now TAO ,pardon me Old Man Turtle; according to your ‘analysis’ the
planet is heading for a certain collapse which is closing in faster than most people think ; but what distinction will Maka make between the various tribes,as you have stated that ‘she’ doesn’t take any prisoners -
so to speak- .If there is something that comes to my mind at the moment with regards to this ‘insane capitalistic ideology it is the orgy before the fall somewhat described in Tanz In Die Dammerung.


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By garth, July 15, 2010 at 7:15 am Link to this comment


Thank you for your sentiment and condolences and thanks for your clarification of abbreviations.

Your description of your profession enlightened me.  It seems in Massachusetts doctors have a stronghold on those services and they aren’t likely to give it up without a fight.

I went to see my doctor in the last six months and he’s now affilliated with the Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA). The first order of business was for me to sign away my rights of privacy to my medical records.

He was frustrated.  A state I find most people in these days—frustration.  I guess the ones who are making policy have gauged the Amercian public and have concluded that induced frustration among the populace still gives them a lot of leeway to enable them to do just what they want.

The doctor sat in front of a PC and filled out screens of data from me for CHA.  His office help took took the tests.  It took about 15 minutes, and I was out of there.


By the way, the last paragraphs of my previous comment came from my frustration and were not meant for you.

I salute you and the California Nurses Association.  It’s good to see that someone somewhere has brains and cujones.

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By Old Man Turtle, July 15, 2010 at 6:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“radson” is one of several here, including evidently Mr. Hedges, who apparently continue to believe it’s still somehow possible for people to “vote” their way out of this worsening mess they spent centuries voting (among other “civilized” exercises-in-futility) their way into.  Einstein’s definition of “insanity” comes to mind, as does the sometimes quoted caution (from a brave woman activist, if memory serves) stating that if voting were really effective (at reigning-in the ever-more vicious abuses of the ever-more ruthless ruling class) it would not be encouraged, as it is.  It would be flat-out illegal.

Those who suspect that things now will simply have to run their course to what seems sure to be a catastrophic (for the “civilized”) conclusion, before any survivors will be sufficiently motivated to even question their most basic beliefs and most cherished conceits, very likely have the clearer view of both “the situation” and its inevitable outcome.  That’s how come Yours Truly, following in the virtual footsteps here of my nephew “TAO Walker,” can only offer as he did, to those who might be receptive to it, a description of “civilization” as just another disease, rather than accepting it the way its sufferers are driven to do as some divinely-inspired or humanly-invented construct representing the “highest” and “best” achievement possible to “thinking” beings.

That’s how come we suggest not institutional approaches to solving piecemeal its endless array of manufactured pretend “problems,” but rather recommend therapeutic measures to heal those afflicted with this inevitably terminal sickness.  That’s how come we characterize “individual”-ity itself, for example, as an illness, and so see its eponymous “-ism” as the foolish worship of what is nothing but a degenerative disease. 

It must be admitted, though, that these to us fundamental and self-evident facts are so much different from the corpus of received conventional opinion in which most people remain enmired, it is presently nearly impossible to reach those among our domesticated Human relatives who might benefit from a clearer and firmer grasp of the real nature of their predicament.  “TAO Walker” weighed-in on this site for over three years with that purpose, and withdrew only when he felt to continue was to just go on belaboring the obvious.  Among our People that’s considered to be poor manners.

Yours Truly felt maybe the same essential “message,” from someone with perhaps a little different set of semantic quirks, might get through to some who were put-off by the maybe too reflexively multi-layered arrangements favored by my nephew.  That, too, is looking like a doubtful proposition, however.  This might be due in-part to the acquired “taste” among “modern” members of homo domesticus for sweetened or salty “opinions” designed to be habit-forming instead of nourishing.  There’s sure no shortage of that commodity in today’s fly-by-night “marketplace-of-ideas.”

So maybe, like “TAO Walker,” this Old Indian should just withdraw now as gracefully as possible, wishing you all “Good Luck!” in the sure-to-be quite trying days ahead.

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By Kathy Sullivan, July 14, 2010 at 5:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Healthcare is the least of our worries.  We’ve lost our Country; it was sold out to
the highest bidder—the corporate elite.  What do we do now?  Resistance is
futile.  But we can decide not to cooperate with our enslavement.  We regroup
and meet and decide what kind of government, if any we want.  We work
towards making a different kind of democracy.  We learn to grow our own food,
as much as we can in our back and front yards and shop for organic produce
locally.  Organic is important because we will need real nutrition and our health
to motivate and energize us.  We stop using our credit cards and go on a cash
economy; if we are over-extended, we file bankruptcy.  We close our accounts
at the five biggest banks and open a credit union account.  We start bartering
and exchanging services and goods with each other.  We limit our TV exposure
and realize that most of any news coming from the box is propaganda and not
the truth.  We limit our transactions with corporations as much as possible.  We
stop buying anything but necessities and when we need to buy something, we
shop at consignment shops, thrift shops, etc.  If millions of us do these few
simple things, we can exact much damage on these corporations.

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By Alexandra, July 14, 2010 at 5:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I posted something earlier, but it didn’t actually post. My empathies with the woman with MS. I completely agree with your rational. (I’ve had a “it might be MS but we’ll have to wait 10 years diagnosis for quite a while). Even making 28K I paid 9K (which sounds paltry now) in insurance over 2 years. The only thing this covered was an allergy prescription. I waited 3 years to have several MRI’s and xrays (yes, my insurance would not even cover xrays) done b/c i had a car accident prior to having insurance and it was considered pre-existing. Good thing i don’t use birth control, b/c that would not have been covered either. Nor do the meds i take. Thankfully i finally found a county program which covers specialist visits (its been around for years, but they don’t advertise, if i’d known four years ago, i would’ve gotten treated sooner). In 2014, if i cannot afford insurance, they can go ahead and put me in jail. I am NOT shelling out 1/3 of my income on insurance which covers NOTHING. I’ve been unemployed for a year and a half. Even if i made 30K a year (which really comes out to about 24 or 25K after taxes) there’s no way i would pay $900 a month (almost 1/2 of my projected income) on health insurance. And to the guy who proclaims all health can be served by eating less fat: YES, good point, in a perfect world. BUT, there are numerous conditions out there which cannot be cured simply by changing the diet. Sometimes they have progressed too far, or been inaccurately diagnosed. My mother has had asymptomatic leukemia for 20 years. As of this week it is SYMPTOMATIC, which means, she will need some form of treatment (i don’t know what yet) in order to stay alive. My mother is/was healthy, eats well, quit smoking 40 years ago, and has been volunteering in Africa for the last 5 years. She’s 71. And, as someone who was in a car accident that has unfortunately altered her brain and life - I am/was healthy, eat well, etc…. but when a four ton truck hits your little Honda but they don’t do any xrays b/c you don’t have insurance, what are you going to do? Be realistic.

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By radson, July 14, 2010 at 4:43 pm Link to this comment

Old Man Turtle

I appreciate your point of view and the importance that you place with regards to the neighborhood aspect of an integrated society .It is something that is lacking in many respects today ,yet something as
you say ;that could actually reunite the people for the better benefit of the Family is lacking .How many people actually care to converse with their neighbors ,or even think of sharing with them ,even if it amounts
to something as simple as a Hello or a smile . The fact that the jobs are leaving at a alarming rate ,due to capitalism is tumultuous to the unfortunate recipients of these cheap tricks, but nevertheless the profiteers
exude the benefits of such a glorious system without ,perhaps understanding the negative repercussions that ensue due to the blindness of mammon ,and its strength to deceive the Mother.Old Man Turtle the
planet Earth -is a living breathing organism -something that TAO has said on many occasions and I personally believe in .As far as this present article is concerned ,the existing health care package should
just be canned in its entirety ,because as Mr. Hedges concludes it is a Farce ,based on corporate profits that only benefit a certain class of society,but when the -shit hits the fan -it is these same diminished
ones that are called upon to do the heavy lifting .Now the elections will be held in 2012 ,will the ‘yes we can ’ man have a chance ,or has he played his part ,the choice is between a corporate donkey and the
same corporate elephant ,is a third party actually viable and if so ,where is the Grass Roots support for this Party.I wish to conclude by saying that everyone has the right to vote ,yet the choices are already
manipulated within the magnificent voice of Democracy supplied by the MSM ;if a third party doesn’t present itself then exercise your vote .IF you choose not to vote ,you still would have made a choice and sent a message to the corporatists .

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By Damiano Iocovozzi MSN FNP CNS, July 14, 2010 at 11:27 am Link to this comment

This is in response to Garth.  First, I’m sorry for your loss.  Your sister must have sensed that pursuing a medical “cure” was not in her best interest. I am an advanced practise registered nurse with 23 years bedside experience in many roles.  MSN stand for masters degree in nursing.  Additional study qualified me to earn the title clinical nurse specialist which is a kind of nurse scientist that does research projects in hospitals or in the community.  The CNS also is an educator and consultant.  While a CNS, I lectured at a university for 9 years. The FNP stands for family nurse practitioner which is a mid-level health care provider whose duties are different in every state.  In California, a FNP can see patients, assess, diagnose and treat.  Often FNPs are hospitalists and see patients in hospital throughout their stay.  In California, there is a collaborative practise with a MD.  In other states, the NP doesn’t need a physician.  In California, the NP can furnish the drugs MDs can, Schedules 2-4.  Reimbursements for care are basically the same for MDs.  I have never had a lawsuit nor made an egregious error on a patient after 23 years of daily practise.  Damiano

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By garth, July 14, 2010 at 10:32 am Link to this comment

To Damiano Iocovozzi MSN FNP CNS, July 14 at 2:07 pm # (by the way what does MSN FNP CNS stand for?)

My sister died of Cancer in 1984 and the last five years of her life were spent exactly as you described, in anquish and in unfulfilled promises.

In 1984 she told me that Boston University had offered her yet another treatment. This time they made no bold promises.  They were frank.  They were going to use her as a human guinea pig, as if they had not already been doing so.

She declined and chose to die.  She asked my sister to take her for a drive by of a funeral home from which she wanted to be buried. 

She declined the stink from the Catholic Church and their offer for a church service, which would have cost more money.

She just wanted to die.

I heard that European’s accept death. But to Americans, it’s an option.

It’s not so much the ins-and-outs of Health care insurance and margianal tax rates that bothers me. It’s what have we have become.  Distrustful, reliant on television.  We have no mind of our own.

If you don’t understand what I’m saying, go text to to someone. You, too, will once become part of this endless, inhumane wheel.

If you experience life on Earth, then you know what I mean.  If not, take your time.

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By garth, July 14, 2010 at 10:08 am Link to this comment

By alyssa, July 13 at 4:07 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)

thanks for the info

Your post followed mine.  Were you referring to it when you commented, “thanks for the info?”

Since I added no informational value, I am curious.


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By Damiano Iocovozzi MSN FNP CNS, July 14, 2010 at 10:07 am Link to this comment

Mr. Hedges, There is more to this story than you can imagine.  Currently, the US spends 25% of the health care dollar for medical futility especially during the last six months of natural life.  For those who have exhausted every medical option, the US pharmaco-medical industrial complex still pursues a “cure” orientation, selling the dying unnecessary, futile medicines, ICU stays, diagnostics, disposibles, surgeries, ventilatory support and critical care. Some dishonorable specialists merrily dance on the Titanic of terminal disease and desparate families who demand the “everything” of medical futility and those detestable medical practises that supply those fool’s errands. In the US, it costs $10,000 per day per patient in the ICU where the majority of ICU patients are well past cure, remission or a reprieve from advanced age, insured or uninsured. Mr. Hedges, you have also swallowed that kool-aid of lame excuses, and the kabuki show of smoke and mirrors advanced by the pharmaco-medical industry. To everything, there is a beginning and end, but not in the US. We insanely are scrambling for ways to pay for this charade of “cure” to people who feel entitled and those profiteers who still are paid regardless of where it comes from.  Who are the usual suspects: specialty medical practices who order everything a la carte, the disposible industry, big pharma, advanced diagnostics, radiology, respiratory care and all the other industries profiting from the dying.  The better alternative is to inform those of what will be endured in ICU until natural death: a large endotracheal tube from mouth to lungs, tubes coming from every orifice, restraints, suctioning, turning, medications, blood draws, hospital acquired infection, more medicines to control the blood pressure, and finally the last code blue to literally shock the patient’s heart.  The scene of the crime contains the cruelest joke of all: the patient cannot even get to say good bye, utter a prayer or feel comfortable during his last moments.  The other part of the cruel joke is the total lack of ethics on the part of those salemen you describe who have stolen a meaningful and peaceful death experience. The other cruel joke is the waste of resources on fraud, waste and abuse of the dying.  Please visit my web page to hear prominent physician radio personalities discuss these same issues. Just click here: I have spent 23 years at the bedside, most in critical care as a clinical nurse specialist and family nurse practitioner.  The disgrace and national tragedy of our current health care system needs reform in every way, starting with sane end of life care that doesn’t profit from the false hopes of the terminally ill.  Medicine also needs a reformation to root out specialties who profit handsomely from the stigma and fear of death and dying.  Damiano de Sano Iocovozzi MSN FNP CNS The Thomas Edwin Walls Foundation

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By Alex, July 14, 2010 at 8:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

HAHA - after reading all these comments i am actually considering offering myself up as a potential wife in another country. This is just so discouraging. My health is already precarious, i have no health insurance, have a 5K bill for 2-3 hour ER visit for a spider bite, among other bills, and all i can really do at this point laugh almost maniacally. As a country, this is complete c***, but there are some places within this country where things are a bit better. I hate to say this, but being a geography major, it just becomes more and more apparent, this country is too big and too diverse to come to any easy consensus.

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By alexandra, July 14, 2010 at 8:19 am Link to this comment
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To they guy who said the only problem is too much fat in our diets - well…that’s a nice simplistic way of reducing every health crisis imaginable for every American. I am completely for using diet to manage most health conditions. However, there are SOME HEALTH CONDITIONS which cannot be eradicated or fixed or whatever purely by diet. For instance, my mother has ASYMPTOMATIC Acute something or other LEUKEMIA which i suspect, has just turned Symptomatic. There are countless other conditions out there which cannot be simply wished away by reducing how much fat you eat. And i’m sick of ppl saying it’s the poor people’s problem for their bad diets. You try eating well when you made 6K that year (i did, i nearly starved, b/c i happen to want to eat well, as in fresh fruits and veggies, and local meat, but on that kind of an income, very difficult, so i ate ok, just not very often). But I’m sure my income over the last few years will have taken its toll on my health.

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By Hulk2008, July 14, 2010 at 8:13 am Link to this comment

To the Radical Righties:

To call the health care bill a government take-over or a leftist bill is a total joke.  A mandate that is completely able to be opted out of, caps that are easily circumvented, restrictions which can be avoided with tiny fines, millions of new customers delivered on a silver plate, and no single-payer capability to control costs or rein in the robber barons - that’s what you guys call “leftist”?  Keep drinkin’ that Kool-Aid !!

“Conservatives” are just sandlot bullies that had their turn at bat and struck out 8 times (typical bullies refuse to surrender the bat even when they miss every time).  Right-wingers are just greedy power-mongers who talk with the proverbial forked tongues.  They regard the Constitution as holy writ - until they find a way to subvert it. 

When the righties take over again, they will plunge us into deeper deficits - gold-lined pockets on the way to perdition.  Tax-cuts for the ultra-rich and spend, spend, spend: that’s their method. 

Can you spell “Medicare Part D” ?  How about another war or two?  I hear Sweden would be a push-over.

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By Romantic Violence, July 14, 2010 at 7:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, I don’t vote and never will. Your ‘vote’ is as valuble as TP; they are popularity polls and moreover, the average person, along with their silly ass ‘vote’ doesn’t affect foreign or domestic policies because YOU are far removed from those processes-period. Now, a real solution for this and other potential political problems is, a GENERAL STRIKE..if not, then don’t complain and go back to your lattes and reality TV…by the way, you are now part of a ‘reality’ do ya’ like it?


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By yrscrewed, July 14, 2010 at 4:35 am Link to this comment

The American People are no longer “Stupid” they are “Imbeciles”
Albert Istien

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By keepyourheaddown, July 13, 2010 at 10:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

it’s already over for the US, and NOTHING WILL SAVE US…




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By tomnic, July 13, 2010 at 8:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think some sense of perspective is in order. First of all Obama did not create the current political system. If he were not working within the system he would not have been elected and would have had no chance to do anything. The health care bill that passed did so by the barest of margins and that was not because it didn’t go far enough in reform. It was the best possible outcome given the current situation. We need to keep working to make sure it is implemented and that it is improved. The alternative was not a single payer system, but the status quo.

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By stevador39, July 13, 2010 at 5:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The American citizen has had all the health care they could pay for.  Obama’s plan continues the same.  However, Chris Hedges advocates that illegal aliens get ‘free or tax subsidized’ health care.  That position by the ‘progressives’ will promote the ‘tea party’ and may put Rand Paul into the U.S. Senate from Kentucky.

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By Alex, July 13, 2010 at 4:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m pretty sure I paid more than 10% of my income for my healthcare insurance the last time i had it (dec 2008 before i was laid off), which is pretty easy to do when you don’t make very much. Considering that my boss made about 3-4x as much as me, but paid the same amount, well, what can you say about that?....Good thing this doesn’t hit till 2014, b/c i hope to be out of the country by then. I’ve waged a pretty determined to personally not become too jaded, but it’s getting nigh on impossible not to be. If i can’t afford insurance, and it’s not covering enough, I AM NOT going to buy it. Shelling out 9K in two years for coverage which amounted to an allergy prescription is just not worth it (everything i actually NEEDED (MRI’s, Xrays, prescription drugs were NOT covered b/c it was “pre-existing” (Car accident). Now i have a 5K bill for a visit to the emergency room for a spider bite in which I saw at least 3 docs and 4 nurses, but they still tried to give me a scrip for a symptom I never once complained about. Put me in jail for having no insurance if you want to.

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By call me roy, July 13, 2010 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment

The “Anointed One” and the Democrats made loofty promises which have become lies? How can this be? I am my college professor’s favorite pupil. He calls himself a “philosophical progressive” (whatever that means) and he tells wonderful stories about Mao Zedong and how deeply spirtual it is to become a Progressive. He told us not to pay any attention to those horrible rumors that the Conservatives preach to us about Brother Mao’s murder of 60 million. I know it’s a lie, that’s what a girl on Facebook said. After all, President Obama had a Mao ornamate hanging fron the White House Christmas tree, right on cool. After learning all of these new political ideas, I went out and got the latest Che Guevara t-shirt. It is so rad. My professor went to Harvard like Obama did so I know he loves Che too. My professor said Hollywood helped to revive another leftist martyr but my uncle (who was in the Army) said Hollywood has dutifully churned out yet another cinematic agitprop paean and that I should read to try to discern why many supposedly democratic, civil libertarian liberals still swoon over this Stalinist mass-murderer. What ever that means, later dude.

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By Amerikagulag, July 13, 2010 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, as i said many times, there is only ONE party in the US and it has TWO faces.

What the country need is a second party. Failing that, a revolution.

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By omygodnotagain, July 13, 2010 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment

Why did anyone believe that Obama was a populist President. He’s from Chicago a political machine city, he’s out of Harvard an elitist now mostly Jewish establishment, he hasn’t had a real job, run a company, fought in a war. We are paying the price of racial and gender politics, we are paying the price of a media that operates for profit, that defines talking points. Obama being a black man means nothing, anymore than Palin or Clinton being women means anything.  If we wanted a President to pass a single payer, we need an activist or one experienced in a similar system.  Above all we need to get politically involved with groups seeking that end. Instead we sent our $50 and turned on the Tv to watch our favorite shows and hoped the “Change” would happen. Obama is a front man, just like Bush a snake oil salesman, and we got what we paid for.

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By Mikey, July 13, 2010 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

See folks? No matter how you vote, no matter how many nonviolent
actions you take or how much theatre you perform, it doesn’t affect
the situation.

Now what are you going to do?

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By alyssa, July 13, 2010 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

thanks for the info

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By garth, July 13, 2010 at 11:18 am Link to this comment

For those out there who might be wondering about an afterlife and what it might be like, I tell you to get laid off for a year or two or ask someone who has. 

It’s an other world experience.  Family members talk around you.  You re neer acknowledged.  It’s as if you are dead or in a bad dream trying to reach the ones you loved and the ones you thought loved you. 

They look at each other as if to acknowlede that they experienced something, a voice maybe, a voice from the grave.  This voice is audible to the speaker, but it is nonetheless from the grave and inaudible to the wife and in-laws around the table.

When you are out of work in the US, you are dead.  No one wants you anymore.

I used to value my sense of the survival instinct, thinking that that is something basic, something I couldn’t fuck with. 

Now, it all seems to start to drift toward an idea of, What can I do to make a difference?”

(I heard that George W. Bush wanted Saddham Hussein’s head.  Ironically, the death squad in Iraq made the noose too long so when Saddham was hanged his head came off.  My curiosity is that George and his ilk gathered Saddham’s head to replace Geronimo’s skull for the whipoorwhills, or is it the whiffenpoofs, or is it the Skull & Bones Society, that strange fraternity at Yale.)

The afterlife of death might be like the afterlife of non-work, or non-personhood.  In which case I might at least have the last laugh.  And if that’s the case, in the end personal becomes global, doesn’t it.

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By JDmysticDJ, July 13, 2010 at 11:17 am Link to this comment

By Druthers, July 13 at 6:53 am #

“The gross hypocrisy of the Democrats whining about the Republicans and the Blue Dog dems being the obstacle to reform is revolting.”

People who correctly point out that health care reform was obstructed by the Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats are being hypocritical? Where’s the hypocrisy; who else would you like us to whine about?

The health care debate lasted for months; where were you during this debate. You seem to have missed the defining moments. Do you recall how a Blue Dog sided with the Republicans effectively killing the “Public Option”? If you missed that, I’m wondering if you were too busy whining about Obama’s unwillingness to try, and inability to, move mountains.

People on the left, who recognize the validity of Hedges criticisms, and advocate people taking to the streets, hope for a viable progressive third party option, and accuse Obama of being a War Criminal, and a Corporatist, such as myself, are indeed “revolting.”

Hedges criticisms today are valid, just as similar criticisms going all the way back to the Viet Nam War were also valid. Some Democrats joined the Republicans in support of: unnecessary horrific wars, cold war paranoia, death squads in Central America, criminal covert activities, and an insane war in Indo-China. It’s worth mentioning that the opposition to these wars and policies also came from the left side of the isle.

The high-minded Yippies that effectively destroyed the 1968 Democratic convention because of their opposition to the Viet Nam War also ensured the victory of Richard Nixon with his “Mad Man Theory of War,” in the 1968 Presidential Election.

The dilemma that confronts us now, as much as it may seem so, is nothing new, although I believe that the right is now more wrong headed and fascistic than they have ever been. Extricating ourselves from the current morass we find ourselves in, will not be achieved by effectively relinquishing power to the worst of the worst.

I might be wrong, but I think our druthers are the same, except that we differ on what is the best method of achieving our druthers. At the present time I’d druther do some obstructing of my own, by supporting the lesser of two evils, thus obstructing the greater of evils.

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By wildflower, July 13, 2010 at 10:55 am Link to this comment

RE HEDGES: “Our nation is hostage to unchecked corporate greed and abuse.”

Speaking of unchecked corporate greed and abuse,  I noted in today’s NYT that drug giant SmithKline, Beecham has been placing diabetics at risk:

“In the fall of 1999, the drug giant SmithKline Beecham secretly began a study to find out if its diabetes medicine, Avandia, was safer for the heart than a competing pill, Actos, made by Takeda.

Avandia’s success was crucial to SmithKline, whose labs were otherwise all but barren of new products. But the study’s results, completed that same year, were disastrous. Not only was Avandia no better than Actos, but the study also provided clear signs that it was riskier to the heart.

But instead of publishing the results, the company spent the next 11 years trying to cover them up, according to documents recently obtained by The New York Times. The company did not post the results on its Web site or submit them to federal drug regulators, as is required in most cases by law.

“This was done for the U.S. business, way under the radar,” Dr. Martin I. Freed, a SmithKline executive, wrote in an e-mail message dated March 29, 2001, about the study results that was obtained by The Times. “Per Sr. Mgmt request, these data should not see the light of day to anyone outside of GSK,” the corporate successor to SmithKline.”

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By TWylite, July 13, 2010 at 10:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Don’t say we didn’t warn you, lefties! When the government mandates what one must buy, the buyer can no longer beware. He/she is stuck with whatever defective product was cooked up behind closed doors on K Street. At least with corporations in a free(ish) market, we can choose not to sign on the dotted line and take our dollars elsewhere. The individual mandate is the biggest wrong in this legislation. It fundamentally alters the relationship between the government and the governed, reversing who is in charge.

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By The Numenorean, July 13, 2010 at 10:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All this debate is pointless.

Either we have the Rule of Law as codified in the Constitutional limitations on federal power or we do not.

What does teh Constitution say about federally supplied/mandated health care?  Absolutely nothing.  Ergo, it is unconstitutional for the federal government to involve itself in any way.  Period.

If you are concerned with the healthcare of others, use your own money and buy it for them.  It’s that simple.

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By S. Yerramilli, July 13, 2010 at 9:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bleak outlook. Financing the insurance companies so that they can bolster their lobbying efforts. Real bleak. I’d like to say that living as a bonafide canadian citizen sounds better than what’s happened down south.

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By bookmark dofollow, July 13, 2010 at 9:40 am Link to this comment

“It requires people to purchase health insurance. It takes public dollars to subsidize the purchase of that private insurance. It not only forces people to purchase this private product, but uses public dollars and gives them directly to these corporations. In return, there are no caps on premiums. Insurance companies can continue to raise premiums. We estimate that because they are required to cover people with pre-existing conditions, although we will see if this happens, they will argue that they will have to raise premiums.”

No caps on premiums? Perfect. Well, we will just have to rely on the kindness of the insurance companies. (LOL)

(Welcome Back The Truthdig site smile )

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By garth, July 13, 2010 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

Sha ... na na na ... na na na Sodium Na,


“I am willing to even vote Republican,if the Republican Party nominates somebody as HONEST AND WITH MORAL AUTHORITY,not exactly,but close enough TO THE HONESTY AND MORAL AUTHORITY OF President Dwight Eisenhower as its candidate.”

And keep jerkin’ off in front of a mirror if that makes you feel better.

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By ocjim, July 13, 2010 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

“as well as a morally bankrupt Democratic Party that is as bought off by corporations as the Republicans.”

Not quite as bought off. The Democrats are not complete misanthropes like Republicans. The more progressive Democrats have concerns for the people. Republicans have absolutely no sensitivity to the needs of the people or our country.

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By Sodium-Na, July 13, 2010 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

Re: JDmysticDJ,July 12 at 11:32 pm.


I agree with the content of your post quoted above as Re,except the following two points:

“The echoing of Hedges truths validate his truths,but that echoing also offers no solutions.”

“Supporting the lesser of two evils is the most rational course of action.”

Chris Hedges is a professional journalist,eloquently talented and conscientious writer. Being so as described,he excels as a POINTER,meaning that he points his readers to the problem after he defines it,and in many ways he really corners the problem in a corner. His job,in my views ends up there.

Finding solutions to the problems he defines,corners,and finally points to,is the job of Congress,Executive Branch and the Judicial
System. All that boils down to the following reality:

It is the American citizens’ job to make certain that their representatives do the right thing-meaning,what,in the final analysis,serves the common good of the vast majority of the American citizens. If their representatives fail to do so,there must be a MECHANISM through which they are impeached promptly,not even to wait for the next election to throw them out;so that they can be a lesson to those who replace them.

Therefore,saying that Hedges does not offer solutions solves nothing. It is first and last the job of all citizens,as a group,who are responsible to find solutions through finding and electing good,sincere and honest individuals to represent them at local and federal levels.

I feel that I must inform you that I am an Idependent voter who has been voting for the lesser evils for the last 60 years,except in the 2000 election when I voted for Ralph Nadir. I have not seen improvement bieng achieved by voting to the lesser evils. On the contrary,what I have witnessed is the fact that financial and economic well-being of the country,as a whole, and consequently the life of the average American has been going from a RANGE of good during the good ol’days of President Dwight Eisenhower,who stopped the Korean War and gave the American people THE ONLY EIGHT YEARS OF PEACE IN 70 YEARS,inspite of the Cold War,to the Watergate years and President Richard Nixon who abandonded the gold standard and relied on American goods and services to back-up the once was mighty American dollar,to the GREAT YEARS OF DEREGULATIONS of President Ronald Reagan,to the Bush family’s wars that corruptted us morally and financially. And I should not forget President Bill Clinton’s CIGAR which had,somehow,stained the good economic and financial achievementS of Clinton’s Presidency, to end up with the horrible eight years of unnecessary wars pushed for by the neoconservatives,Cheney/Bush and cohorts.

In short,I am sick and tired of voting for the lesser evils. There must be better ways.

All of the above must not be considered as implicit criticism directed at President Obama. Not at all. I have promised myself not to make any criticism of President Obama,until he completes two years on the job as President. If President Obama improves slightly the UNREAL BURDENS Cheney/Bush left for him to deal with,I would vote for him again. If no tangible improvement is achieved,I will look for a Nadir like candidate to vote for,just to live with my own conscience. And I will follow Hedges’ writings to help me sort things out,along with my own analysis as the dynamics of the election events unfold.

I am willing to even vote Republican,if the Republican Party nominates somebody as HONEST AND WITH MORAL AUTHORITY,not exactly,but close enough TO THE HONESTY AND MORAL AUTHORITY OF President Dwight Eisenhower as its candidate. No thing less will do. Again,I will continue reading Chris Hedges future writings to help me make my own decision.

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By garth, July 13, 2010 at 8:23 am Link to this comment

Touting the Onana (intentional.  Google will show Onanistic.) health care bill for its keeping students on their parents insurance plan is slender pickings at best.  When I was young, my heart was young then, too (excuse me) and my heart said I am young, I am strong, I am healthy.  I don’t need health insurance unless the company is going to give it me at a small cost or gratis, even better.  Other than that, to hell with it.  Who needs it?

Fast forward 40 plus years.  My sister-in-law just told me of her health insurance dilemma.  Her husband recently died, maybe from a prescribed pill induced massive heart attack, but she suffers only from asthma. 

She was paying top dollar for the top insurance company plan that they offer; it was for coverage for her husband.

Now she felt she no longer needed that level of coverage.  She is, except for the asthma, in very good health.  She grows her own veggies and on and on.

She opted for a lower plan.  When she went to the drug store to get her usual prescriptions for asthma, and the duggist told her that the new “Formualary” did not cover asthma medication and she’d have to pay $600 for a three month prescription.

Note the word ‘Formulary’.  One word.  Makes it sound moe officious, instead of,  And Here’s How We’re Screwing You.

The druggist told her that there were cheaper over-the-counter drugs and also asked to see what the Good Doctor was prescribing. 

The druggist was shocked.  The Good Doctor was pescribing three separate pills when only one was really necessary.

The point I am getting at is that the ideas of change that flow from Onana’s administration and those that flow from most Americans do not in any way coincide.  If it were a Venn diagram, it would be distinctly different circles.

(Segue to tort reform.  This might be all bullshit.  Examples like this might be used in a study by some right-wing political think tank as a case for the need for tort reform.)

Onana ought to apologize to American people and explain that it was all a joke.  You get it don’t you.

Note: if you look at the photo of Onana that is used in this piece, he’s using the facial and hand gesture that is supposed to indicate the Jews without using the word, “Jew.”

You know the yoke, “Why do Jews have big noses?”  Answer, “Because air is free.”

If Muriel Obama had gone to see the musical on Broadway, “The Fantasticks” instead of staying cooped up in his room studying when he was a “student” at Columbia he would’ve heard the phrase, “a callow fellow” in the song Try to Remember.

A little soul searching and perhaps a little growth of cujones might have made him a better titular head of this faltering Democracy.

At least he could play the part till the play ends its four year stint.

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By Peetawonkus, July 13, 2010 at 8:00 am Link to this comment

Obama is a corporate appeaser. He just can’t rest at night knowing that somewhere is an unhappy Republican. True, Obama is less of a corporate appeaser than the last corporate appeaser. Which is to say, a somewhat lighter whip is falling on our peasant backs.

But it’s basically the same lies, just marketed in a shiny, new package. Health care is still broken, millions won’t benefit and the same corporations will reap Roman Emperor profits. And what little scraps of reform we, the people, were able to pick up won’t even be available for another 4 years. But, by that time, Tea Party Republicans will have regained the government and rolled back even those pitiful gestures of reform. Pray for us. No, really, that’s the only health care we’ll have left.

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By Myles Klossimburg, July 13, 2010 at 7:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“an overabundance of vegetables, what can possibly be cheaper to eat then that? :

Hot dogs and processed cheese comes to mind.

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By Old Man Turtle, July 13, 2010 at 7:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Some take Mr. Hedges to task for only describing the dimensions of “the problem,” but not offering any solutions.  As an “individual,” though, no matter how well-meaning, he has none to offer.  Neither do any of those here “speaking” as “individuals” to those they believe are of their own “kind.”

Human “individuals” are just artifacts of the selfsame “civilization” process that is the cause of everything they bemoan and fear.  They’ve been manufactured and they exist solely to advance its Earth-devouring purposes.  The damned thing sure-as-hell isn’t going to stop-short of eating its own “agents,” either, a part of the process even now in the early stages of a rapid acceleration dead-ending much sooner than later in a massive reduction of homo domesticus’ hyper-inflated “numbers.”

“Civilization” is a disease.  It is not amenable to “reason” or “moral” suasion.  It won’t yield to armed force.  It can’t be bought-off.

There is effective Medicine, but the very “individuals” who’re trapped in their fake IDentities effectively prevent its delivery.  Their too-precious “selfs” keep them wrapped-up in institutionalized immaturity and media-made ignorance.

Those who want out from under the boot-heels of corrupt and abusive corporate “governance” can get there only together, by caring for each other, and patiently suffering the natural and certain consequences of their own part in the killing assault on our Living Arrangement, which is presently unable to respond to their actual (as opposed to profit-motivated induced) needs because they’re effectively cut-off from the well-springs of Natural Vitality. 

Of course this is a bitter pill to swallow, coated as it is in over-weaning false pride, and big enough anyhow to choke even “deep throat.”  It is, however, the specific remedy for their specific condition.  Take it or perish.

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By wildflower, July 13, 2010 at 6:21 am Link to this comment

Re John Ellis: “Surely the root cause of all illness is bad diet, and the only solution is to eat nothing processed by man or animal. 

Please, you’re getting carry away here. Clearly, pollution more than qualifies as a root cause of a great number of illnesses.

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By wildflower, July 13, 2010 at 5:54 am Link to this comment

RE HEDGES: “The simple truth, that single-payer nonprofit health care for all Americans would dramatically reduce costs and save lives, that the for-profit health care system is the problem and must be destroyed, is censored out of the public debate. . .”

Speaking of public debates and morally bankrupt politicians who oppose a not-for-profit healthcare system that would greatly benefit America, I noted an interesting bit of news on TPM about Missouri’s Repulican Congressional candidate Ed Harris – what a manipulative forked tongue this guy has:

“One thing I like to say is: America is great, not because of our genetics. We’re great because we created a place and space where people can be free. And they can choose Christ, they can choose to be faithful. They can worship, and they find their way to the Lord. And—or some of them don’t. We sure want them all to, but some of them don’t.

Part of that freedom—when you take a government and you impose, and take away all your choices. One of the choices you take away is to find the Lord. And to find your savior.

And that’s one of the things that’s most destructive about the growth of government. It’s this taking away of that freedom. The freedom—the ultimate freedom, to find your salvation, to get your salvation. And to find Christ, for me and you.

And I think that’s one of the things that we have to be very, very aware of. That the Obama Administration and Congressman Carnahan are doing to us.”

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By Druthers, July 13, 2010 at 2:53 am Link to this comment

The gross hypocrisy of the Democrats whining about the Republicans and the Blue Dog dems being the obstacle to reform is revolting. Rahm Emanuel backed all the Blue Dogs, Bacus put in charge of health reform was a joke as lurid as the appointment of Ken Salazar. Obama supported Blanche Lincoln. 
Obama is having a stroll down lover’s lane with those who have big pockets.
On every domestic issue he has sided with the corporations, the rich and the powerful. From time to time he makes a speech but the fire is gone, turned to ash and I doubt there are many still inspired by the so-called messages.
He chose his cabinet, he listens to them and turns a deaf ear to the cheering voters who put him in office and leaves them by the way-side in favor of those who can do something for HIM.

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By Textynn, July 12, 2010 at 11:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I campaigned for Obama and sent him money even though I was a single mother who rarely gets support and sick.  I did this because I believed that he was going to fight for real health care reform. Supporting Obama was all about health care for me. I believed he was going to reinstate an America in which people were important and their safety and well being was the point of government.  That it not what I got. I thought he was at minimum going to change the tone of the argument.

Had Obama tried to get real health care reform and failed I would have understood that he did the best he could in this sociopathic corporate run government.  I now feel he is a major player in this sociopathic corporate run government.

The head trip that the congress, Pelosi, Obama, Baucus and the rest put this country through concerning health care was indescribably deceptive , callous, and made up of mad hatter logic that would have inspired marches in the street had we not been carefully schooled in the results of protesting. We have been taught that protesting will get you a record, possibly tased and/ or beaten, and enough legal fees to make you homeless.

The really scary part was we all watched while what the people wanted was completely ignored and we were told a pack of lies by people we had busted our butts for who said they were going to fight for us.  This scam on the American people was without a doubt the most chilling wake up call.  Americans are in big trouble and our senators and congress people have proven their loyalties.

Nothing is going to save us but a National Walk Out.  Democracy is an illusion that is being used to lie to us. The longer we play like we have it , the longer we will be suppressed and enslaved.

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By samd11, July 12, 2010 at 11:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All I can say to this depressing article is Thank God I Live in Canada!

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By mindful, July 12, 2010 at 8:34 pm Link to this comment

There are many accepted beliefs that doom healthcare.
One is, big insurance and capitalism will deliver the goods. They take over 40 percent of every healthcare dollar for themselves. Insurance executives have nothing to do with quality healthcare.

As for docs being wealthy, I have three of them , one an uncle and two as cousins. The one who does breast reductions and plastic surgery, living in SC, is the only millionaire.

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By dianne, July 12, 2010 at 8:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

More on Obamacare:

Citizens found eligible for Medicaid (up to 133 percent FPL) will have no other choice. They will not be allowed to “shop” at the Exchange. Auto-enrollment is left up to the secretary of HHS in each state so people may be dumped into this mediocre-to-lousy plan against their will or without their knowledge. If auto-enrollment is not used, they will have to pay the IRS-enforced tax penalty.

Obama said all Americans would have choice. He neglected to add: except for low-income earners. This is blatant discrimination.

Medicaid contains a federally-required estate recovery program for any state that receives federal Medicaid funding (OBRA 1993). This is not only for someone going into a long-term care institution but also applies to those who use Medicaid benefits at age 55 and up. RX and hospital are mandated but a state can recover assets upon death for any and all medical care received. Estate recovery supercedes your will, the homestead act and more. Your heirs will have no say in the matter.  It’s a $ for $ deal and could possibly include fees and the like.

I had a discussion with a contact at CMS in case anyone is in doubt. A detailed letter was faxed to at least 70 on Capitol Hill last November and ignored by the U.S. rep and senator of the eight people who signed it, not to mention all the others including Obama, Sibelius and DeParle.

Obama said mandated health insurance, not a mandated collateral loan! This is outright exploitation. And it also discriminates against those who own property and/or have savings or other assets vs those who do not.

Various aides told me last summer that estate recovery had been discussed in committees, so it wasn’t a mystery. And obviously, it wasn’t a great talking point. Neither was the part about no-choice for Medicaid-eligible citizens.

Medicaid was revamped in order to expand it. They increased the income limitation and age, childless adults will be allowed to apply, and they dropped the asset test. However, they did not, to my knowledge, amend OBRA 1993 (or any other statute governing Medicaid) so that no state is required and no state is permitted to recover assets (estates) upon the death of a person who used Medicaid benefits at age 55 and up.

As for affordable plans and choice at the Exchange: forget it. You will be told what you can afford to pay based on your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) which will include tax exempt interest received or accrued in a taxable year. Eligibility for a susidized plan and the penalty is also based on MAGI. The cheapest gov’t approved coverage will be expensive and not affordable to use. Pure gravy for the insurers.

If your PCP, specialist and/or hospital isn’t in the network of the plan where you live, tough nougies unless you can afford out-of-network fees.

When too many end up in the subsidized plans, the premiums will increase which is a win-win for the gov’t - you can’t afford the premium, so you are nailed with the penalty and the gov’t has one less person to subsidize.

Obamacare is the MA plan on steroids - both are regressive and oppressive. Before the first week in August, check out to find out the unreported truth about the MA plan - implemented for political gain and use as a marketing tool while MA national (and state) reps and senators looked the other way as they marched in lockstep with leadership.

Obamacare was not designed with the intent of providing equitable medical services to those in need. Neither was the MA plan. Instead, these models take your money to increase the profits of the medical industrial complex while purposely depriving you of access to medical care using the ideological excuse of personal responsibility.

People will be appalled when they find out what was done to them.

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By DC, July 12, 2010 at 7:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A health care service based on profit and profit as the sole motive for its existence is bound to fail in the end. I have lived in foreign countries and observed their health care services. In most cases the government subsidized the costs to a certain degree while the patients paid a reasonable amount. In the US it’s exploit the patient to the max and get away with it. While overseas I would send in my doctor’s bills in the hope that I would get a small reimbursement. Well guess what, the corporate health care system would time and again ask for clarification of this or that point ad-nauseam to the point where I just gave up the claim. They would do that to you everytime and avoid paying. Snow you down with administrative requirements making a claim difficult in the extreme. That is how health insurance is run in the US. It is about screwing the patient. Period

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By JDmysticDJ, July 12, 2010 at 7:32 pm Link to this comment

There is no way out.  We are doomed. Struggle is futile. That seems to be the consensus of opinion here.

Hedges quite accurately points out the current reality, but he offers no solutions to change that reality. I believe he’s desperately trying to motivate people to some action, but the people who recognize his truths, appear to be beyond motivation, and appear to have no faith in any action. The echoing of Hedges truths validate his truths, but that echoing also offers no solutions.

If we are truly in a struggle for survival, if we are truly headed for an apocalyptic catastrophe, doesn’t taking some action to avoid that catastrophe become the utmost imperative? Moreover, isn’t taking effective, well reasoned action, with the best potential for avoiding catastrophe the best course of action?

At the risk of being scourged, castigated, and demeaned, I’ll reiterate my belief that, lacking massive grass roots political action in the form of political protest and demonstration, or a viable third party option (My preferences,) supporting the lesser of two evils is the most rational course of action.

I read Hedges article, and all the comments on this thread, in spite of the obvious reality, so evident in the title of Hedges article, that the entire article was based on a false premise, and, with apologies to Hedges, based on a falsehood. Hedges flatly states that there is no difference between the two parties, which is false. The differences are obvious, but ignored by some because recognizing those differences contradicts their false dialectic, and that recognition would blunt their seemingly self satisfying, but counter productive, emotional response to current realities. It appears that the health care fiasco has sickened many.

The recently passed Health Care Reform Bill does not belong to Obama and the Democrats. The Bill resulted from the obstinacy and obstruction of the Senate Republicans and a handful of Blue Dog Democrats. Hedges did not raise the issue again to motivate discussion of the Bill. His intention was to point out more general iniquities and to reinforce his criticisms of the Democrats. Hedges reserves the preponderance of his criticisms for the lesser of two evils. The reason he does so is obvious and needs no further comment.

Again, Hedges’ criticisms are undeniably true, but what is the best method of combating the difficulties that confront us is the question. Surely, facilitating the greater of evils is not a rational method of combating our difficulties. I don’t ascribe to the theory that yielding to the greater of evils and the destruction that will result, will eventually lead to a positive conclusion, my belief is that the contrary would be the result. If gradualism is the only option, then it is the only option.

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By Go Right Young Man, July 12, 2010 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

jpbreeze, (Unregistered commenter) - “As if you understand the global economy. You provide no links to back up what you say.  I did some “authentic” research of your waste,fraud and aging population crap, and so far everything I turn up says that neither are contributing that much.”


I no longer supply links.  I no longer do research others won’t do themselves.  I have nothing to prove. 

It’s great that you took the time.  While I hold a healthy respect for Dr. Reinhardt he and I do differ on various aspects of what makes up the total in health-care costs.

You write that so far everything you turn up supports your view on this matter.  I’m truly curious as to how that’s possible but, we’ll let that one go by for the time being.

You may recall I cited a recently released German Health Ministry study concerning the German health-care system.  It may interest you to learn what the Germans have concluded in their study.

You may also find interesting an 2008 Italian study entitled “Democracy, Debt and Disorder”. - Just be sure to learn the study yourself and not rely in me or anyone else to summarize it for you.

Good luck to you.

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By Roger Lafontaine, July 12, 2010 at 5:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is one voter who is not voting for Obama for a second term. I don’t care if they run Dick Cheney himself against him. Nothing he has done has earned my admiration or even sympathy. He is not an honest man. He is not even a good man who is weak as Carter was often wrongly portrayed. He is frankly 100% opportunist. He never allows conscience or even pity to sway his judgment.

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By kerryrose, July 12, 2010 at 5:22 pm Link to this comment

Well, children staying on parent’s health insurance is something, isn’t it?  I mean, it means for the first few years after college graduation {if you don’t have to take the first job you’re offered to pay off your loans), you don’t have to take the first stupid job just for the health insurance, right?  That is a ‘quality of life’ improvement beyond literally plain old life.

How affordable is the ‘affordable health care’ people will be required to buy?  I haven’t heard any numbers, zip, zero.  What is ‘affordable’?

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By MarkJ, July 12, 2010 at 5:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To the whining folks who have posted above me:

Damn guys, I’ve got a ten-spot that says you really, really believed all that hope and change s*** that Obama promised in that mellifluous voice of his, didn’t you?

And don’t lie to me because I’ll know.

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By garth, July 12, 2010 at 4:29 pm Link to this comment

With the Obama health care plan now it seems that Rep Alan Grayson’s warning about the Republican plan still still stands—Die quickly.

A few more bucks for less. A doctor, your doctor, prescibing pills that stand a good chance of killing you or disabling you.

There are 300 million of us.  Like lab rats.  We can be tested.

You’ve think about your grandchildren.

And they sent Kevorkian to jail.

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By MeHere, July 12, 2010 at 4:16 pm Link to this comment

If anyone doubts that government health care can be any good, here are some
points to consider:

Ask anyone from a country with a decent health care system whether they are
ready to give it up. See how many, among those who are acquainted with our
system, would readily abandon theirs and adopt ours instead.  It’s normal that,
after many years, the overhaul of some aspects of any given system may be
necessary. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea that has to be discarded.

In addition to big profits going to insurance—a business that has nothing to
do with medical care delivery—we have other problems. We have accepted the
fact that physicians must be wealthy and that medical school needs to be very
exclusive and costly.  This is not so in other countries with good medical care.

The task of assessing the quality of health care systems around the world can
be quite complex. But in the studies that are available, the US fails to come on
top in terms of overall timely and effective care. Only in cost it is first.

If you know, as I do, a physician who is competent, experienced, and who
belongs to a major teaching hospital in the nation, and he tells you that the
way to go is universal, single-payer health care, do you dismiss him as a
socialist nut or do you listen?

Denial is always an option.

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By ProgressiveChangeAdvocate, July 12, 2010 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hedges provides one of the best summaries of Congressional and White House compromise with the healthcare industry and betrayal of the public interest written to date on ‘healthcare reform’.

Unfortunately, the Progressive groups must take some responsibility for the failure to effect real change. They chose to bring knives to a gunfight. They relied on ‘grassroots’ tactics to fight strategic titans. Their leaderships’ egos were invested in reliance on a few liberal Members of Congress to quarterback the futile game plan.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. There isn’t a dime’s difference between the script followed by the healthcare industry in 1993-94 and the script pursued by it in 2009-2010.

So, what could they have done differently (which I and presumably others implored them to do more than 18 months ago)?
1. Read the script followed by the industry, which was published by the Center of Public Integrity, in 1995 after the failed Clinton effort.
2. Organize an alliance with Public Citizen, Common Cause, Center for Responsive Politics, et. al. organizations, which were serious about effecting Change We Could Believe In.
3. Take the gloves off. Anyone knowledgeable and insighful of the fraud perpetrated by elements within the corporate healthcare industry could have structured an EDUCATIONAL CAMPAIGN to expose the Fraud and Criminal activities of some major corporate elements within the healthcare industry—-drug companies, insurance companies, hospital corporations, home care agencies, nursing homes, etc. over the last 2 decades BY NAME AND MISDEEDS—-and linked them to politicians, who accept their campaign donations, jobs post-public service, and careers for their staff, relatives, and friends.
4. Review and expose the professional bios of Obama’s appointments to key healthcare policy roles in the White House and DHHS.

It was no surprise that Rahm et. al. cut deals to neutralize opposition to ‘healthcare reform’. The drug industry was bought off. Under the radar, the medical profession and hospital industry were neutralized. Even the AARP, which is a marketing bonanza for UnitedHealth and The Hartford, was pacified.

No greater exhibition of impotence by Progressive organizations has been manifested than the ultimate outcome of healthcare ‘reform’. No failure of government will continue to be more responsible for preventable deaths, suffering, impoverishment, industry enrichment, excessive cost, and ludicrous public policy development.

Healthcare reform is the best illustration of sustainable and preventable suffering attributable to ‘democracy’ gone to hell via legalized corruption and bribery in American history.

Until and unless we achieve totally publicly-funded election campaigns, we will remain a nation for the benefit of high-paid lobbyists, corporate executives, shareholders, and gutless, morally co-opted, corporate-funded politicians.

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By Hammond Eggs, July 12, 2010 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment

Just the sight of Obama makes me sick.

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By REDHORSE, July 12, 2010 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment

It is not, an either/or matter, of American vs. European style health care. A “workable economic health care system” is possible. The fact is, rich vampire thugs, don’t want you to have, a “workable economic health care system”. They will continue to deny your loved ones medical aid, and allow them to die in front of you. They are morally bankrupt swine and a Bar-B-Que is long overdue.

      It is insanity, to continue discussing these thugs and their governmental minions, as if they offer, or intend to allow, any viable future for “—we the people” of America. Any comfort you now enjoy, or any vestige of an intelligent, civil and cultural society you now experience, is because of the life, blood and labor you and your forebears invested to make it a reality.  It exists in spite of, not because of, any help or support the thugs gave to its’ creation.

      What part of, they are (like Hitler), megalomaniacal psychopaths in the process of looting, and destroying, what’s left of American civilization, don’t you understand? They are the antithesis of human sanity and culture. Why do we discuss them as if they aren’t?

        “—-ring the bell that still can ring—forget your perfect offering—there is a crack—a crack in everything—that’s how the light gets in—that’s how the light gets in—”

        Stand together—or die alone. We all know it’s coming.

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By xxNoGodxx, July 12, 2010 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment

I’m currently unemployed, and without insurance.
I also suffer from Crohn’s disease, my body basically attacks my intestines, when it flares up I get severe diarrhea, nausea, weakness and I lose pounds and pounds and pounds.  Last week I weighed 143 lbs, today I weigh 129. I’ve been in the emergency room twice this week, both times all they could do was give me an anti-nausea and an IV drip , then a few hours later I was discharged.  This has been the story of my life for years. Each time I get worse, and each time I get a little more scared. This past week I told my girlfriend if I had access to a gun I would have just ended my life then, how can a country so rich treat it’s people like such shit?  I guess that’s what happens when you spend 20 billion dollars a month on illegal war.

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By logkAW, July 12, 2010 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

John Ellis, what about how a lack of exercise contributes to poor health? Air pollution? Smoking? Or a lack of funds to buy raw and unprocessed foods?

Your 80% carb, 10% protein, and 10% fat rule, works only as a scheme for an overall diet, not for an appropriate food (good luck finding anything that meets this criteria).

Some fats are healthy.  Nuts are mostly fat, comprised of healthy fats (monosaturated), and extremely healthy to eat (especially unsalted).  Eat almonds, sunflower seeds, and walnuts.

Berries, like blueberries, and pomegranates, two of the few fruits to have a documented positive effect on health, also do not meet your criteria.

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By DaveSD, July 12, 2010 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Everyone who has and continues to vote Democrat or Republican shares the blame for the mess that this country is.

Only if you are willfully ignorant or in complete denial can you not see how corporate interests have co-opted our government via both main political parties.  The current cadre of elected officials are products of this society elected to office by this society.  Apparently this is the best America can do, and it sucks.

The system is too far gone to be saved—we need to purge most of our politicians from office and strip corporate america of its power.  Too bad America lacks the intelligence and will to do this.

The Audacity of Hope is that hope must be based on something real, something tangible.  All I see is false hope, a much more dangerous and damaging thing than no hope at all.

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By glider, July 12, 2010 at 1:21 pm Link to this comment

>>Um…but I only earn $20,000 per year. The total cost of this undertaking would exceed my entire annual income. Meaning it’s not feasible.<<

You neglected to mention that, in spite of feasibility, you will be fined for not participating.  The likely result is that you will be forced to buy a cheapo scam policy such as a 50% deductible plan that limits insurance company liability to whatever will bankrupt you.

>>I’d love to know what the rationale was behind the mandatory “6-month waiting period.”<<

It enhances and preserves HIC profits by limiting eligibility.  Remember this baby was written by a Congress and POTUS beholding to Corporate America for their political lives.  The 6 month crowd is the group who has said “Hell No” to the extortion (I was offered a 50% higher rate after my Cobra expired over a couple “pre-existing conditions” that are easily controlled with inexpensive medications and not unusual for my age).  This legislation will allow the IRS to come down on even them.

Personal Rant: HIC propaganda proclaims that the free market system results in consumers being offered a wide range of insurance product “tailored to fit (exploit) your needs”.  Well my personal needs would be to get an insurance product that would cover only emergency hospital visits (i.e. heart attacks, strokes, or other acute only events).  For anything chronic, I would prefer to get the hell out of Dodge and go to a foreign country where I can buy care for 20% of the cost in the good ole USA (ditto for the insurance).  Is such a health insurance product offered?  No, that would encourage unprofitable behavior, so what they offer is 10,000 different shades of the same shit!

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By Dr. J, July 12, 2010 at 1:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Don’t worry, America. I’ll save you.

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By JacksonM., July 12, 2010 at 11:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

An excellent article;  thank you for printing it.  I have lost all hope in our government after a long, long haul towards real health care reform that resulted in this travesty of a bill, structured according to a healthcare-for-profit model, and not on the principle that health is not only a right, but quality health care for all, regardless of their gender, age, ethnicity, and socio-economic background.  Congress has the power to open up an improved and expanded Medicare for all overnight, and as supported by overriding majority of Americans and medical professionals.  This is commonsensical and sane.  Let’s step into the future with the rest of our allies in the westernized, civilized world, and who are far outpacing us in health care standards and delivery.

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By mindful, July 12, 2010 at 10:54 am Link to this comment

Dr. Howard Dean and a host of other physicians clearly showed the Obama plan was a give away for big insurance. In fact, it would have been far better for the American people if no health care plan had passed. This one a travesty and no price controls.

As a recent admitee to Medicare I find my paltry SSI scheck has sucked 110.50 a month for a premium. I do not see my doctor more than two or three times a year and resent being pushed into a federal program that takes 1500 dollars from an SSI of less than 1100 per month.

What a bozo system we have.

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By jean gerard, July 12, 2010 at 10:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Health Care Business plans for a good health care bill have failed, and
politicians have failed,  thereby opening a new opportunity.  Now is a time for
building forces for a more adequate health care bill, not a period for defeatism. 

Idea:  Go to the top doctors and nurses in medical organizations—
conservative, liberal across the board who are interested in PROMOTING
national public health care. (There are tens of thousands of them.)  Ask them to
get together and make suggestions of what to do to promote better overall
health care for all, top to bottom. Obtain grant money to assimilate
suggestions, boil down to understandable proposals and publicize widely,  (Do
NOT solicit or accept money from insurance/pharma corps etc. as they have
proven by their past behavior incapable to considering the public good over

Idea:  Promote as much media coverage as possible of stories of individual
cases of successful practicable local, small-scale actions suitable for
broadening public understanding, experiences of other nations etc.  Work on
easiest issues first to build background of inter-agency trust and amicable
relations. Put touchiest problem issues in hands of skilled mediators as soon as
they arise.

Idea:  Appoint or elect best of top doctors/nurses to present findings and
suggestions to media and legislators national and state, and to public.
Solicit professional skills of writers, actors etc. in the issue as an urgent public
cause.  Organize constructive ways to include criticism and debate without

Idea:  Boil down conclusions.  After a year devoted to presentation everywhere
from national to rural community publics, have national conference to draw up
universally acceptable conclusions to be put on a national non-partisan ballot

A long-term organizing effort for possible goals, methods, publicizing and
promotion is going to be necessary, spearheaded by medical organizations, not
politicians or corporations and insurance agencies who have proven themselves
inadequate and therefore themselves provided grounds for being excluded
from informed public study and debate.

This is the time to make serious cooperative moves for an adequate health care
system.  The debate must be taken out of the hands of politicians and monied
interests and organized not for profits or political gains but for the public
good.  Other ways have proven themselves to be inadequate and can now be
cast aside.  This is a time of opportunity, not defeat. People themselves will
have to make it possible.  Other possibilities?  Comments?

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By bogi666, July 12, 2010 at 10:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Jim Yell, great comments and analysis of the protection provided to the wealthy and the CORPORATE WELFARE KINGS, many of which pay no U.S. taxes but whose investments are protected worldwide by the Pentagon which is the enforcement arm of the NSA/NSC mission statements which is to secure and protect the world’s resources for the benefit of the WELFARE KINGS INVESTMENTS.

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By Roger Sandford, July 12, 2010 at 10:31 am Link to this comment

When you have a largely bought Congress and Senate how can you expect Obama to do anything but trim everything he wants to do to get the votes to paas SOMETHING.  I have heard that there are several lobbyists for every single congressman…you mustn’t pass over that fact….there is widespread indirect corruption in the system with lobyists helping to write the legislation.  If Obama declared this publicly there would be an avalanche of money to get him out at the next election.  The corporations own venal politicians…..the only hope is to find ethical people who are truly independent and use the internet and small donations to get them elected.

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By Laurent Colvin, July 12, 2010 at 10:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Loved the article, and I completely agree with the Author.

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By mrfreeze, July 12, 2010 at 9:51 am Link to this comment

I’m sorry. Did I miss something? Why would anyone in the U.S. today believe that we will ever have systems in place (with the exception of Social Security…which may be scrapped by the neo-cons one of these days) that actually benefit “the people?” 

The only folks in America today who seem to receive help from all quarters are the wealthy: If they cry that taxes are keeping them from fulfilling their dreams…well, hell let’s reduce taxes. When the corporations complain that they are over-regulated, well, hell, let’s just gut regulatory agencies. When Bill Gates claims we don’t have enough qualified grads from the U.S., well, hell let’s just create more visas for foreigners so they can have those precious jobs.

THE FAKE PROMISE: If we could only make those rich people happier, they’d make us all prosper….....Unfortunately, they will never be happy ENOUGH to trickle that help down to us parasites and free loaders!!!!

On the other hand, if Joe-Blow working-guy needs a hand, then this ugly, puritanical beast rears it’s ugly head to exclaim: Well, hell, if you’d only been smart enough and worked hard enough and not been the member of “a Union,” you’d be like all the rest of us wealthy folk. Heck, you’d be able to afford EVERYTHING your heart desires…...........including great health care. BUT, we’re AMERICA where the Constitution doesn’t give us the “right” to such entitlements. Hell no. It’s Armageddon, it’s Socialism….It would be the end of life as we know it if Americans were more like Germans, or Swiss, or even….........gosh Italians (gasp!!!!).

Look, we’ve had decades to come up with health care solutions in this country. Indeed, we’ve had decades to come up with solutions to a huge number of our “problems” but we have chosen the enrich and aggrandise the wealthy instead. I hold out very little hope that the U.S. will survive as a unified nation for much longer. We have proven ourselves to be totally incapable of “coming together” except in times of crisis and even then we remain a regionally antagonistic land of failing schools, disappearing economic capabilities and an infrastructure that is falling apart. We haven’t got long before the only thing we will recognize as “freedom” will be owning a gun and driving our cars. Wow, and some out there think health care is in their future…..................yikes!

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By Xenu, July 12, 2010 at 9:46 am Link to this comment

Currently, those with pre-existing conditions wishing to obtain insurance through the “high-risk pool” must meet 3 criteria:

1. They must have gone without any insurance whatsoever for a minimum of 6 months.

2. They must prove that they are unable to obtain coverage via a private company.


3. They must be willing to pay up to $900 per month in premium costs once they’re accepted and allowed to purchase a plan through the aforementioned pool.

The problems I have are with items 1 and 3. Regarding 1: you’re taking a large group of people that you know for a fact are already sick, and you’re requiring them to go without any insurance whatsoever for a minimum of 6 months in order to “qualify” for the pool.

Sure, there are many people with pre-existing conditions who haven’t had insurance for years, and so—-boom!—-they qualify already. But imagine, say, people who currently have insurance through their job, who have pre-existing conditions, who lose their jobs.

According to the government’s own guidelines, these people must wait for no less than 6 months with zero insurance coverage before they can apply for coverage within the high-risk pool.

During that 6-month period, these people are presumably paying for all of their health care, medications, etc. out-of-pocket.

Then, these same individuals could be subjected to premiums of up to $11,000 per year.

In my specific case, if this happened to me, I would be completely screwed. I have Multiple Sclerosis and am currently covered by my employer. Let’s imagine I lost my job. My medication alone is priced at approximately $2,000 per month out-of-pocket.

$2,000 per month x 6 months = $12,000

Then, assuming the worst-case scenario of premium costs of up to $900/mo. within the “high risk” pool (after that mandatory 6-month waiting period!):

$900 per month x 12 months = $10,800

Annual out-of-pocket total:

$12,000 (to cover meds during 6 month long gap)
+ $10,800 (for premiums on high-risk pool plan)

Um…but I only earn $20,000 per year. The total cost of this undertaking would exceed my entire annual income. Meaning it’s not feasible.

Please explain to me how this is at all logical, rational, or affordable for the average person. Even if I made 40k a year, this would cost me 1/2 of my annual income.

Honestly: think about this.

I’d love to know what the rationale was behind the mandatory “6-month waiting period.” I mean…are they just hoping a bunch of people will die before they qualify for the pool? Or go bankrupt? What, exactly, is the reasoning behind this?

Links with supporting documentation:


2. The government’s own website,

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By garth, July 12, 2010 at 9:06 am Link to this comment

My BC/BS health insurance rates in MA just went up 15 percent, the co-pay for a Drs. visit has doubled and so has the maount I pay for Prescriptions.

The only insurance denied an increas thus far has been Fallon.  I wonder are they screwed up beyond belief or have their campaign contributions fallen off.

I heard of a phenomenon recently.  If you take city of 100,000 with 100 doctors, each making say $100,000 each per year, and you introduce 10 new doctors as recent graduates from our specialty Medical Schools (The specialty is Diseases of the Rich.) within a year all the 110 doctors will be making $100,000 each per year.

Now with all the drugs meant to kill you incidentally or over such a long period of time where no one notices, the doctors have become no less than phamacists.  And with their egos, they are ten times more dangerous than an ill-trained pharmacist.

I have twin nephews.  Both are morbidly obese.  One went to a doctor and was treated for choleterol and high blood pressure.  The other didn’t.

The one who went to the doctor is now in a wheel chair and in a nursing home wondering what the hell happened.  His twin is still verticle and mobile.

The health insurance game is now starting to look like dabbling in the stock market.  You pays your nickel and you takes your chances.  Screwing around with the Health biz, though, you might not be able to walk away from it.

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By Samuel Wells, July 12, 2010 at 8:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m sorry, did the John Ellis, the first poster above actually claim that “the root cause of all illness is bad diet”???

Yup, absolutely. Polio is caused by not eating your fair-trade organic broccoli! Spinal Meningitis, lack of carrots!

This type of “voodoo nutrition” hurts the debate, it doesn’t add to it. I always appreciated William S. Burroughs’ approach to anti-vaccers (which I see as a similar strain of thought to the one expressed above): just wait ‘em out. Eventually their own ignorance and a good virus will take care of the problem for you.

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By Anarcissie, July 12, 2010 at 8:29 am Link to this comment

rico, suave, July 12 at 9:12 am:

‘It appears the left and right are unifying in their disgust with the health care bill, albeit for vastly different reasons. It’s a perfect time for left and right to hold their noses, join together, repeal this bill, and start over.’

Why do you think they would do any better the next time around?

It seems to me that from the point of view of the ruling class the present legislation is perfect, anyway.  The medical establishment had reached the point where people could not or would not pay any more for their services.  How, then, to further raise revenues?  Borrow a gun from the government.

For the common man (and woman) this may not seem like a very good deal when put this way.  But the fact is, based on what we see most people actually doing, that is, sucking their thumbs and whining, maybe it is a good deal, because it preserves and enhances their opportunities to whine.

Anyway, it is fun to see that Mr. Hedges has suddenly awakened to the ‘Health Care’ bill.  Where has he been all this time?

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By Old Man Turtle, July 12, 2010 at 8:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“....the new health care legislation….is deeply depressing,” says Mr. Hedges.  He then goes on to list the usual corruption and abuses by the usual suspects, while still seeming to suggest there is some way politically to compel them to behave less ruthlessly toward their hapless captives.  Some others commenting on this article appear to advocate that, too, though a few see past the deadly mirage.

One wonders what part of “It’s every individual for himself (or her’s),” the monotonous message droning from every orifice of the “establishment” nowadays (e.g.; the reference below to Veep Biden’s cavalier attitude toward the chronically “jobless”), the ruled classes still don’t get.  Does anybody still think they’re only kidding?

Forget trying in-vain to wring some concessions from your “betters.”  Here’s an antidote that actually works.  Take care of each other! 

Accept the inevitably quite painful attrition that is the natural and inevitable consequence of a completely profligate “lifestyle.”  Help unhook one another from the vicious “system” that can only profit by exploiting the manufactured fears of institutionally ignorant “consumers.”  The “freedom” from corporate serfdom Dr. Flowers and others say they want cannot be had on-the-cheap.  What’s more, their money is absolutely no good to (or for) you.

No Person can “take care of (their) self,” as people are being told constantly to do.  Health is a ‘community’ function.  “Individuals” are, as the ruling class is making abundantly clear these days, nothing but shit-out-of-luck.

Take care of each other or, as someone said below, die.  It isn’t corporate “governance” that’s killing you all, either.  It’s your own toxic selves.

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By jpbreeze, July 12, 2010 at 8:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

go right…

As if you understand the global economy. You provide no links to back up what you say.  I did some “authentic” research of your waste,fraud and aging population crap, and so far everything I turn up says that neither are contributing that much.  i.e. read this:

...which is from two years ago.  And here is what wiki has to say on the subject of “Quality of Care”...“The U.S ranking was 24th, worse than similar industrial countries which have very high public funding of health such as Canada (ranked 5th), the UK (12th), Sweden (4th), France (3rd) and Japan (1st).”  which you can read here:

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By jpbreeze, July 12, 2010 at 7:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To go right young man;

“What do all of the above have in common?  The exorbitant waste and fraud that come from large government run agencies.”

Everything you stated is Insurance Company Corporate BS!  The thing that all your stated falsehoods have in common is not fraud and waste, but the fact that “banks” are not lending money.  The G-20 just decided to “half” the deficits of every member nation you described in your own “narrow-minded” piece.  Which of course means that services will be cut, money will not flow to social programs meant help alleviate suffering of the sick and poor. 

You are probably an industry hack who gets paid to visit progressive sites and spew misinformation, (“Health service are, on average, 20% more expensive if billed to Medicare/Medicaid”), or outright lies (“Socialized medicine, however, always fails to deliver quality and always proves to bankrupt industrialized nations.”).  If as you say, “Reforming the health-care system in the United States is a much needed and desirable goal”, then you are destroying your “own” argument that Privatized vs. Government run health care is better, using your own made up statistics that is! 

C. Hedges as always does a great job of exposing the BS you people spout.

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By SoTexGuy, July 12, 2010 at 7:44 am Link to this comment

Several excellent comments already here.. thanks to those authors.. one note, I don’t think universal, single-payer health care has to be any kind of give-away or welfare. It can and should be set up where everybody pays. Yet as a society it’s obvious that in the full accounting sick people (also hungry and ignorant people) benefit nothing and no-one.

Bottom-line here, Hedges is right again. Good to have him back.


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By Go Right Young Man, July 12, 2010 at 7:32 am Link to this comment

maninwarren, July 12 at 11:01 am

I would quickly, and gladly, agree with you if you understood the global economy and the machinations of various health-care systems. - Your “Blame America” religion is, well, useless to real working people.

If you do some authentic research you’ll find there are two overwhelming reasons each and every “Cradle to Grave” welfare system has been failing over the last decade.  Waste/Fraud and aging populations.


Check out the German government’s recently released report on German Health-care.  The reality is the United States is not mentioned once.  There’s a valuable lesson in that.

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By William W. Wexler, July 12, 2010 at 7:24 am Link to this comment

Wait just a damn minute, Mr Hodges.

The Democrats have already declared victory on HCR and gone home.  You can’t bring this up any more.

Scene: Andy and Barney are in the office on the radio with the state police, who are in Mayberry to catch an escaped convict.  The state police, naturally, are acting like they know everything because they’re from the city.

Andy: Mayberry to headquarters…Mayberry to headquarters! Captain, you might as well answer, ‘cause I’m gonna keep callin’ till you do!
Capt. Barker: What is it, Sheriff?
Andy: Oh, hello there, Captain! I just wanted to let you know where you can catch your criminal!
Capt. Barker: You’ve got him cornered?
Andy: Let’s just say we’ve made the necessary arrangements. Now, if you and your men will come down the Crystal Creek Road…oh, that’s right, you don’t know how to get here, either. Tell you what do…go over to my house and pick up my boy, Opie. Now, anybody can tell you how to get there. He’ll show you how to get here. Ten-four!
Capt. Barker: But, Sheriff…
Andy: I’m sorry, I done ten-foured ya!
(cuts off radio, turns to Barney)
Andy: Felt good to get it in first for a change!

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By Valatius, July 12, 2010 at 7:20 am Link to this comment

Chris, I’ve followed your work ever since you wrote a piece on the Schoharie hill folk ages ago, and altho I don’t always agree with you, you are depressingly right on this issue. Unfortunately, the faux opposition to Obama stirred up by Murdoch’s Fox News leads many liberals to believe that there really is some value to the health care law. They seem to think it’s at least the half loaf proverbially better than none, but it’s no more than a slice of bread, and a moldy one at that.

G. Anderson’s comment above is quite correct, and something I hadn’t quite admitted to myself: “Just as the Republican party used the ideals of the right then betrayed them. The Democratic party used the ideals of the left, to betray all those who voted for Mr. Obama.”

If the Republican party was still what it once was - fiscally conservative, committed to building up manufacturing and infrastructure within the US and cautious in foreign policy to the point of isolationism - that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. And if the Democrats really did act as a voice for labor, small farmers and the big cities - that wouldn’t be so bad either. But both parties are in the business of diverting the country’s productive capacity (which is what the currency is supposed to symbolize) into fewer and few hands without the slightest regard for the national interest.

So, Chris, what are we who see through this charade supposed to do now. Any suggestions?

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By maninwarren, July 12, 2010 at 7:01 am Link to this comment

@Go Right Young Man: you are so full of crap.  Germany,
Japan, Sweden, Denmark, you name it, they all have better
health stats than the US.  The reason Europe’s cutting back
is because the US financial rating agencies lied about the
quality of the instruments Goldman Sachs et all were selling
them, and now we (i.e., the whole world) have the biggest
financial crisis in our lifetimes. “Market forces/Boost
quality/cut costs”—for whom?  How come Japan has 100%
coverage for their citizens AND much better health stats? 
Sorry, but I have to say it: the call for unbridled
corporate power is TRULY anti-American, if by “American”
means of, by, and for the People.  The distribution of
wealth continues to go from the bottom 99% to the top 1%,
which is perfectly in line with the corporate agenda. 
Working Americans have the least leisure time in the
industrialized world.  The list goes on and on.  And now
you want to push the lie that corporations are the answer,
when their ever-increasing power has brought this country to
the brink of ruin.  Amazing.

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By G.Anderson, July 12, 2010 at 6:55 am Link to this comment

Just as the Republican party used the ideals of the right then betrayed them.

The Democratic party used the ideals of the left, to betray all those who voted for Mr. Obama.

It’s a tried and true tactic of the Plutocracy, using the belief system, as a psyops while you continue looting.

Just like a huckster selling used cars to the American people, president Obama suckered us into buying something that looked good on the outside, while inside it was the same old piece of crap.

But when you by a lemon, you take it back to the dealer and demand your money back..

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By Jim Yell, July 12, 2010 at 6:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Those who call Hedges out on this article are surprisingly forgetful of the facts. The facts are Socialized Medicine does work and the problems with existing socialized medicine is largely trying to cover too many marginal health issues and not taxing enough to pay for it and as always allowing the very rich to skip off without paying their share.

Rich people love to tell you the dollar amount that they pay in taxes and even the percentage of adjusted wealth that they pay, which if was based upon their hidden wealth and not the adjusted amount would not be the big percentage that they would like the rest to believe. Remember Howard Hughes the extra rich nut case, paid no income taxes at all, but the marginal worker did.

Why shouldn’t the rich pay to support the society that has enabled them to be rich. And, why do the really rich get to use the US military as their personal thugs to get sweet heart contracts to steal other countries resources? Oh yes, just remember the lying stealing investment community and their gift of poverty to the nation. Anyone with sense would cancel their credit and debit cards and go back to a cash only system. At lest when you get robbed you know it.

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By Kathy C. Gauthier, July 12, 2010 at 6:32 am Link to this comment
adalah blog seorang mahasiswa perawat dari Indonesia yang sedang meningkatkan promosi

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By balkas, July 12, 2010 at 6:17 am Link to this comment

In a privatized governance, or to put it in other words, private people setting up a system of rule,the owners of america run also military, jurisprudence, spy agency,warcare, schooling, and all important information.

So the healthcare, whatever it may become when applied on living level, will be what owners of america want.

But, then, every cosa nostra gang behaves exactly the same: set up a system that each gang holds very dear.
In US known as the greatness of america, god bless america, american justice-freedoms, etc.

If patching is done to the old pants, the patches are also governed by the gangsters.

The only way out is to set up a new and an antipodal cosa nostra gang.
Up to now and everywhere until very recently the cosa nostra gang always wins—cosa mias always lose.

Begging-complaining by cosa mias is allowed. And why not, when it had been quite ineffectual for the last 10 k yrs!

What is effectual? Tanks+! And not whining or lamentations! tnx

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By rico, suave, July 12, 2010 at 5:12 am Link to this comment

It appears the left and right are unifying in their disgust with the health care bill, albeit for vastly different reasons. It’s a perfect time for left and right to hold their noses, join together, repeal this bill, and start over.

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By MRawlings, July 12, 2010 at 4:57 am Link to this comment

Sociopathic. Pull back the curtain and you find not a man, but a little sign that reads, “This apocalypse brought to you by the Business Roundtable and the US Chamber of Commerce with the help of the Democratic and Republican parties.”

Welcome to the Anonymous Corporate States of America

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By Go Right Young Man, July 12, 2010 at 4:54 am Link to this comment

The health-care system advocated by dreamy and narrow-minded individuals such as Mr. Hedges has been tried in several nations.

Germany has just announced -for the third time- drastic cuts in services to the sick and pay to health-care workers of all stripes in order to lower out-of-control costs. - Cutting service/Out-of-control costs.

France, Britain and Denmark are currently in the process of injecting free market forces in attempts to drive down costs and boost quality. - Market forces/Boost quality/cut costs.

What do all of the above have in common?  The exorbitant waste and fraud that come from large government run agencies.

Fact:  Health service are, on average, 20% more expensive if billed to Medicare/Medicaid than those same services billed to an employer-based insurance consumer.  A whopping 40% more than the cost to a cash paying health services consumer.


Reforming the health-care system in the United States is a much needed and desirable goal.  Socialized medicine, however, always fails to deliver quality and always proves to bankrupt industrialized nations.

Hedges proves once again that symbolism trumps substance.

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By bogi666, July 12, 2010 at 4:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A former public relations employee, now resigned, from CIGNA recognizes that President O’BushBombya care is a bailout of the insurance industry by the USG because their current business model is unsustainable.This bailout will sustain them for a few decades more. Another USG bailout for the CORPORATE WELFARE KINGS. Also, this country has no health care system it has a health insurance system with health care employees. Car insurance is mandatory so it stands to reason health insurance should be mandatory, right, I mean it’s just common sense althought the only sense the USG has is nonsense. The only thing to do is massive unrest and massive arrests because while jailed medical care is provided. There hasve been cases of this but the government doesn’t disclose them.

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By David Reese, MD, July 12, 2010 at 3:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The corporatists in the health insurance industry own Congress.  They have
bought and paid for this Congress.  Why should we be surprised by Congress
selling out the American people?

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By thebeerdoctor, July 12, 2010 at 3:28 am Link to this comment

This is the part of Chris Hedges I like best. Stating some obvious truths that the so-called news organizations refuse to acknowledge. What is worse, with the help of Microsoft National Broadcast Company (MSNBC) puppets Olbermann and Maddow, a myth has been created that President Obama and his spineless democrat minions are actually an improvement over the Republicans. This is how the fraudulent and totally dishonest “health care reform” legislation was created in the first place.
How wonderful it is to exist in a nation run by money sucking cowards. It is better than a Cecil B. DeMille movie.

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