Posts Tagged ‘health care reform’

Red Letter Day For The Blues

September 23, 2010

Today some very important new rules on health care go into effect.  This landmark day will only go to prove that we lost big when we did not get a public option.

Supposedly, as of this day, insurers are to provide insurance for ALL children, whether well or very ill.  There are (at least) two problems with this new regulation.  First, it concerns children, and lo and behold, America has often treated their children as their most expendable resources.  They do not have the vote.  Thus, we can use them as touchy-feelie campaign pawns, but when it comes time to deliver, they usually get nada.  Secondly, since our insurers are all private, faced with no real competition, if they choose not to implement new regulations, they are so entitled.  Aetna, Wellpoint and Cigna  have opted out of providing policies for sick children.  Case closed.  If these for-profit companies deem the new government guidelines as detrimental to their own financial health, they just abandon the market.

It truly is a red letter day for the Blues.  Instead of respecting and implementing the letter of the law, our private insurers use the loopholes to avoid the law.  If we ever do get decent health care coverage, it is going to take decades, despite the new law.  In true American fashion and selfish independence, it appears that the system must be dismantled before it is put back together.  First the insurers have to try to make an end-run around the new regulations: figure five to eight years.  Then, perhaps outrage will play a role, and real reform may occur: figure another eight to ten years.  This entire process could have been sped up by initiating a public option at the get-go.  However, that is not the way America works.

As a result, America has a lot more suffering to do, which is also a characteristic of the good old US of A.  The bitching and moaning is very dear to Americans and they want to hold on to that more than they want decent health care and coverage.  The number of uninsured Americans has crossed over the fifty million mark and poverty has increased at an alarming rate.  Childhood poverty is over twenty percent now.

And yet, today marks an upswing in avoidance measures rather than fixative actions.  This is not pragmatism; this is insanity.  This red letter day is going to kick all Americans right in their sad, blue asses.

Advertisements

From Drill To Bill

June 5, 2010

On an occasional basis, Yo Mama may invite a guest blogger.  I am doing so today for the very first time, as this person’s comments are a good overview of where we are in our quest for a safer world.  The writer has requested anonymity and I have obliged.

FROM DRILL …. TO BILL

Even as the exhortation to “drill baby drill” dies in our ears the Gulf of Mexico swells with crude, the wetlands are diminished and the pristine beaches become tar pits.  It is not without some irony that the victims of this latest ecodisaster live in red states, where the mantra of the far right now is to blame tree huggers and ecofreaks for the oil spill.   The oil companies, they say, should have been allowed to drill closer to shore, where it is easier. Next we’ll hear that Greenpeace torpedoed the Exxon Valdez and the Audubon Society blew up Three Mile Island.

If sanity prevails the entire episode will some day serve our political process in enabling a Climate Bill.  In the same way we thank the CEO of Wellpoint for enabling Healthcare Reform (by raising rates at the wrong time) and Goldman Sachs for enabling Financial Reform (by making obscene profits at the wrong time), so it happens that British Petroleum struck a gusher that may —-  if we are lucky —-  mobilize public opinion to force us to do what we should have been doing all along.

At least since 1970, the first Earth Day, it has been no secret that we are irrevocably messing up the Earth.  There are simply too many people on this planet, and we are using its resources with abandon.  If there were a sister planet where we could dump our garbage, we would ruin it, too.  Recycling, wind power, tidal power, shale oil, and algal hydrocarbons will not solve our problems if demand keeps going up.   In this sense, all of us who use too much energy, consume far more than we need, and don’t clean up after ourselves —- we are all to blame for this oil spill.  To focus on the blow-out preventer is not what we as a nation should be doing.  Regulation of the industry, a needed and no doubt forthcoming “solution”, is but a band-aid for this hemorrhage.

It is time for us to concentrate on a sustainable economy instead of one that requires perpetual and unrealistic growth and hence the insatiable need for more energy.  This will require a sea-change in attitudes, lots of new science, a change in the way we build things and transport ourselves.  In short, we have to change everything; only the future of the planet is at stake.  Of course, we knew that forty years ago.

The only comment I have on this article is that we surely did know forty years ago about the possible environmental demise of our world.  Alas, our blind partisan ambition and quest for personal gain prevented any significant inroads to preventing environmental disaster.  Will we choose to ignore the writing on the wall for another forty years?  That is, of course, if we have forty years left.

The New, Hot Dude in the White House

March 4, 2010

Who is this new, hot dude in the White House?  Just who is this decisive leader, albeit tinged, ever so slightly, with a Johnny-come-lately aura?  Why it is the man we elected to the Presidency, that’s who!

Now he is primed for action.  His intellectual capacity, his professorial manner, his cool demeanor and his realistic judgment have allowed him to enter a new stage —- action.  Add into the mixture his fierce competitive drive: he didn’t get where he is today by just watching. Damn: he so wants to be the President to initiate health care reform. Let’s face facts: health care reform is a done deal.  While not perfect, the new program will be the solid base for an ongoing policy that will change to fit the times and needs of the American people.  The House passed the reform as did the Senate.  The only obstacle remaining before our new, hot dude in the White House inks the deal is a reconciliation between the two legislative bodies.  A good amount of tweaking still remains to be done and the new, hot dude has voiced his support of the procedure of reconciliation.

I am not kidding myself.  When that tweaking involves (and it definitely will) restrictions on abortion, a lack of attention to tort reform and still and yet, a nod to the monopolistic nature of the insurance companies, I will go ballistic.  But Baby!  Look at us then!  We will have health care reform in some sort of form and we can work from there to improve it.

So Glory be —– the GOP now knows that HRC is a done deal.  Their year-long efforts at obstructing all that the new, hot dude has put on the table have been uncovered.  Their campaign of fear against the White House dude (a Black dude, to boot) is not so veiled anymore, as if it ever was.  Check out this discovery:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0310/33866.html

The worst part about this GOP revelatory document is not so much the fact that they ridiculed their own donors, but that they finally put in writing (idiots!) their overriding goal to put the fear of God in everything that has to do with our new President.  The Party of No confirmed.  A corollary of this statement is that they acknowledge a dearth of platform principles.  The GOP is bankrupt in caring for and considering the needs of the American people.  Their platform consists of only one ideology: to bring down the current administration.

On the other side of the coin, we have Elizabeth Warren, another cool customer in the political wars to bring oversight and renewed regulation to the financial industry so that American consumers can be afforded some kind of protection against the sharks that currently rule the roost.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/03/fight-for-the-cfpa-is-a-d_n_483707.html

She is a more than capable guardian of our financial institutions and repeatedly speaks out, calmly and in language all of us can comprehend.  Yet she is relentless in her efforts to fix a corrupt system.  With whatever limited power she has, and that is mainly educating the public to the wayward tactics of the financial industry, she has kept the need for financial reform on the front page.  She has no legislative powers; only persuasive powers.  I do believe that Warren has crept under the skin of the new, hot dude in the White House.  Financial reform is right there behind health care reform.  I feel it in my bones.

So whom, might you ask one more time, is this new, hot dude in the White House?  Some people call him a Socialist, an intellectual with his head in the clouds, a man more dedicated to theories of governance rather that to actual legislation.  They are wrong.  The new, hot dude certainly took his own sweet time to become a man of action, but you can bet your bippy that there is no turning back now.  We have health care reform and, call me a Pollyanna if you must, financial reform is not far behind.

This new, hot dude in the White House is Barack Hussein Obama and he is just in the beginning stages of his impact on our nation.

LIVE BLOG: State of the Union

January 27, 2010

PRE-ADDRESS POST

Welcome and thanks for visiting this site.  President Obama is just about to give his first SOTU address.  I was much happier this time last year than I am presently, but happiness has nothing to do with anything.  I am behind the man and am willing to draw on my remaining short supply of patience in anticipation of real change.  Here are my  comments on some of the major issues..

President Obama has offered up much-needed solutions to many of our problems.  We now need him to translate those words into actual events.  The financial industry must be held accountable to the government.  It is called regulation, which needs to be re-instated immediately.  This is rather difficult though when the government is in the industry’s pockets.  The lack of oversight and accountability has served to alienate and infuriate most Americans.

Ditto goes to our wars on two fronts.  It is a meaningless and fruitless task to help those who refuse to help themselves.  Further, our fixation on “fighting terrorism” can not be won by using the typical, historical methods of warfare.  Waste of time.  We must acknowledge that terrorism is a state of being, not a single event that can be wiped away by retaliation in the form of an endless war.

President Obama’s recent call for cost-cutting is only cosmetic.  I doubt that a freeze on that kind of spending will tip the economic scales one way or the other.  However, my mind is still open and I will comment further during his speech.  I am inclined to believe that these spending cuts are merely a political move, rather than a real fix for our economy.  A symbol, if you will, rather than a solution.

I need not rehash the importance of facing and fixing our high unemployment figures.  To fall back on the excuse, “It takes a strong private sector to create jobs” is an excuse for kowtowing to the usual suspects of special corporate interests.  I am not falling for that one again.  Instead of starting at the top of the triangle and hoping for a trickle-down effect to the middle class, the beginning point has to be at the bottom and middle of the triangle.  We never recuperated from that genius, elitist theory that we used to extract ourselves, i.e. the moneyed class only, from the recession under President Reagan.  Fool me once…….

Additionally, I remain steadfast in that the most important issue that reflects our gridlocked and unresponsive government is health care reform.  Health care reform must not remain a symbol of hope; it must be brought to legislative fruition and in so doing, will be an actual solution.  President Obama and our Congress must make good on delivering a reasonable, even though not complete, program.  I want my President to allow the do-nothing GOP to filibuster.  Big deal: another time delay in getting decent legislation.  Also, I want to see the President and our houses of Congress use their power of the majority.  If need be, reconciliation should be implemented to get some sort of reform enacted.  At this time, faced with understandable anger by the people, every legislative measure possible should be activated to make this reform a done deal.  It appears that Nancy Pelosi is the only one on Capitol Hill with some balls.  Not only is this particular issue the heart of what ails America (How could we be the only industrialized nation on earth that does not provide universal health care for our people?), but also this will be a test to see if the government can move past its own selfishness and inertia to enact policy for the betterment of the people.  Fat chance of that happening.

On the issue of global climate change, each nation is afraid to step up to the plate and institute responsible reforms for the benefit of our entire world.  Instead, they harp on tit-for-tat, lest any one nation lose economic superiority for the sake of our planet.  Would you agree that some guts, role-modeling and long-term concern are called for?

The time has come for action.  Nothing less than a  sea change in our governing practices and business objectives will be required.  Our elected government officials should be subject to the same FICA taxes as is every other American.  Regardless of their term in office, pensions for the rest of their lives should be thrown away.  Their pay raises should be limited to the CPI.  Above all, our mantra that bigger is better should be buried deep in the ground.  Pre-recession, when our economy was supposedly flourishing, any corporate earnings report that was a few pennies short of expectations or even worse, remained the same, caused the underlying stock to tumble.  By deeming anything less than previous earnings a market failure, pressure was applied to business interests, such as the financial industry, to come up with more esoteric and so much more riskier strategies and investments.  Not an excuse for their horrendous penchant for risk, yet a warning nonetheless.  It is unfair for the powers that be to rely and encourage the middle class to buy, buy, buy in order to stimulate the economy, at a time when personal debt is at just as dangerous levels as overpriced mortgages were.  Equally important, the middle class must stop their rampant consumerism just because easy credit is available.

A call for bipartisanship is just another delaying tactic and avoidance of responsibility.  The GOP’s do nothing platform of the last year has worked; why should they change their strategy now?  For the sake of unity, President Obama could give them one last chance.  He could list five issues, i.e. financial reform, health care, wars and national security, unemployment and perhaps immigration, and set a date and a time when the GOP can offer five fixes for each of these problems.  Shall we call this initiative “Five For Five”?  The Republicans’ biggest criticism of the health care bill was its length: “Five For Five” can be dispensed with in two pages.  Are they up to this task?  If they do not respond, it is only an affirmation of their solitary goal of taking down our President.

The poison that is eroding our middle class and our nation as a whole is deeper than we can imagine.  I am not at all sure if any President can stem the tide.  However, if we start with baby steps of corrective action, and fill in the gaps later on, perhaps we can get back on the right track. President Obama must turn his creativity and rhetoric into actual results that benefit the middle class.  And I do not mean pretty, election-saving but empty promises; I mean immediate steps to help make American life more secure.  Let’s see if that is going to happen.  Here we go.  Lights, camera, ACTION!

Some reading  links for your enlightenment on relevant issues:

1.  Steven Pearlstein of the Washington Post on  “The State of the Union Speech Obama Would Give in a More Honest World”:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/26/AR2010012603934.html

2.  Andrew Simms on unsustainable growth (two very good articles):

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2010/jan/25/uk-growth-energy-resources-boundaries

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8479508.stm

THE LIVE BLOG OF THE SOTU ADDRESS

9:09 P.M.

Manners, puh-lease! Is Joe Wilson in the House?

9:11 P.M.

Look at how color coordinated Biden, with his purple tie, and Pelosi are, with her lavender suit.  I do not want staging; I want substance.

9:14 P.M.

He recognizes the decades-long faltering of the middle class.  He’s got the problem identified.  So what are you going to do, Mr. President?  We the people “share a resilience in the face of adversity”.  What choice do we have?  We should prefer to live a more gentler and kinder life as do our elected officials and corporate CEO’s.  So enough compliments.  What have you got on the table?

9:20 P.M.

Only half of the room stood and applauded Obama’s plan to charge fees to the largest banks in order to repay the taxpayers.  At his mention of the bonuses,  still only half the room was standing.  Therein lies the problem.  How could any politician from any party condone the huge bonuses paid to financial executives with funds borrowed from the taxpayers?

9:25 P.M.

Where will Obama’s new jobs bill originate?  With the already wealthy or within the middle class?  Will we have trickle down or trickle up?  Looks like he wants his starting point for jobs growth to be small businesses, by taking $30 billion from the money the banks have already paid back and use those funds for community lending to small businesses.  Here we go: no more capital gains for small business investment.  Don’t hold your breath.

Green jobs.  Infrastructure investments.  How we so desperately need this.  Not only will such a program provide jobs, but it will also repair our crumbling bridges, roads, water mains, etc.  Another great idea.  This Congress couldn’t unify behind the American people for all of the tea in China.  Obama’s presentation of this jobs bill is admirable.  So were all of his other progressive ideas.  How the hell do we turn these ideas into actions?

9:34 P.M.

Mr. President: economic growth is not always synonymous with a “healthy, strong” economy.  Quality, my friend is worth so much more than quantity.  Please do not fall into that American trap.  We do not necessarily need “more”; we need “different”.

9:36 P.M.

Best point so far: the nation that leads the clean revolution will be the nation that leads the world economy.  No guts, no glory.  Didn’t I say that in my pre-address comments?

9:39 P.M.

No progress.  Only half the room is standing and applauding.  Our Party of No cannot overcome the only issue that unites them: take Obama down.

The President is now addressing education issues… Still only half the room is responding positively.  Shoot.  The Republicans, in all of their elitism, do not think that college educations should be available and accessible to all.  How else can we interpret their apathy to Obama’s comments?

9:44 P.M.

Here comes health care.  I am so pleased that he hasn’t tabled this reform.  If he can get this bill passed, I do believe that future policy changes in areas like climate change, unemployment, and education will have an easier time and a better chance of passing as well.  The health care debate is the oil that will grease all present and future progressive legislation.  Obama must see it through with whatever available but legal procedures necessary.

9:49 P.M.

“Let’s get it done” re: health care.  Finally, the entire room is on its feet.

9:51 P.M.

Have to take a brief break.  Tell me what happens.  Wait:  I like his idea for spending cuts of $1 trillion to cover that exact amount that we had to borrow in response to the recession.  Surely the cuts are modest when compared to our overall debt, but now I understand the rationale behind the specified amount.  There is a certain symmetry there.  But in a perfect world with a perfect government, I would still like to see deeper cuts in such areas as military/war spending, pork barrel issues and especially, the payroll exemptions, ridiculous lifetime pensions and salary increases of our representatives and senators.

9:57 P.M.

Aaaaaahhhh ….. “the deficit of trust”, “the need to close the credibility gap”.  We have finally gotten to the heart of the matter.  In the same vein of reclaiming trust,the denouement of the recent Supreme Court’s decision to allow unfettered campaign giving.  Free speech, my ass.

I like that website idea for all pork barrel requests.  Remember that Bridge to Nowhere?  “Thanks”, but “no thanks”.  Palin’s lie was an attempt at covering up her pork barrel pet project.

I love Obama’s point that every day cannot be Election Day.  Governing must trump individual career goals.  Now I would like to see him lead the way on this issue and fight like the Dickens to get health reform done, with whatever methods are available to him. He must pull out all the stops and LEAD BY EXAMPLE.

10:06 P.M.

Major faux pas.  Obama has just pledged that the Iraq War will be over by August and that “all of our troops will come home”.  Will they?  Or will they be recycled to Afghanistan?  Do not pull the wool over my eyes.  This is not conducive to building trust.

10:10 P.M.

President Obama has given a good speech.  It was much less condescending than I thought it would be.  He stood on his principles yet was brutally honest.  Downright daring.

Oh my!  Hold on to your hats.  He has just promised to do away with DADT (Don’t ask, don’t tell) in our military,one of the most hypocritical policies thriving in America.  How can we be an honest nation with an honest government implementing an honest agenda if we hide behind and bury gender preferences?  Fake, phony and fiction.

10:18 P.M.

Obama is finishing up.  He is speaking about having the dedication and strength to “do what is right”: to invest in the generations, not just in an election.  Please Mr. President, live by your own words.  Your head is screwed on absolutely correctly.  I am with you and I have your back because I know you have mine.  Now act.

GOVERNOR BOB MCDONNELL’S REPUBLICAN RESPONSE

Allow me a few comments about Virginia’s new Governor Bob McDonnell, who will be giving the GOP response to the President’s SOTU address.

He ran a good campaign against a weak opponent last November here in the Commonwealth.  However, a few things need clarification.  First, his campaign jewel was the promise that he would fix the horrendous transportation gridlock here in northern Virginia.  Not three days after being sworn into office, McDonnell announced that he will not be tackling our transportation woes this year  Liar or realist?  Both.  He knew damn well during the campaign that our state was over $4 billion in the hole.  Of course there was no money available.  But he chose to lie to aid his victory at the polls and THEN he became a realist, after being inaugurated.  Yuk.

Secondly,his gubernatorial opponent, Creigh Deeds, accused McDonnell during the campaign of not supporting equal rights for women, as McDonnell had voted against equal pay for women.  Further, a master’s thesis written by McDonnell  when he was 34 years old in 1989, put forth his beliefs that working women and feminists were detrimental to family life.  McDonnell countered this brouhaha  by citing the careers of his wife and numerous daughters.  His paid political ads featured many female state employees who refuted his alleged sexism.  Fine and dandy; he fought off the charges well and successfully.  However, no one, not even one person in the media or state government, questioned McDonnell as to why, if he holds no prejudice against equal gender rights, why the hell he voted against equal pay for women.  To this day, no explanation for that vote has been offered.

So now let us listen to the hope for the GOP.  What?  Why did they choose him to deliver this speech?  He has only been in office for about three hours.  Oh right: he is a Republican who actually won an election.  Got it.  Here we go.

10:30 P.M.

McDonnell has one thing right: it is not easy to follow the President of the United States, especially this particular one who currently holds office.  Remember the debacle of Bobby Jindal last year?  Oy.

McDonnell is starting out with his favorite topic: job growth.  And of course, that can only happen if we have unfettered, unregulated growth.  Never mind that with the constant expectation of growth comes corruption and abuse.  It is one thing to harp on the GOP’s steadfast platform of growth, but McDonnell is conveniently ignoring the disaster that irresponsible growth can cause.

Yes, I agree with him on the topic on the necessity of tort reform as an important underpinning for successful and effective health reform.  This issue has not ignored for too long by the Democrats.

Uh-oh: here he goes, willing to sacrifice a clean America for an energy independent nation.  I do not fall for this.  The achievement of both goals can be attained.  It is not an “either or” situation.

10:38 P.M.

McDonnell is touching on all the issues, i.e. education, the war against terrorism, a strong military, etc.  Pretty simple task when you only have ten minutes to talk.  He is pushing all the right buttons, be it only for five seconds each.  In six minutes, we have met three of his five children.  Sorry, not interested.  Extraneous.

Overall, a decent, white bread kind of speech from a member of a white bread sort of party.  Admirable but very milquetoast.  A recitation of party platitudes, affecting no deep-seated changes in attitudes:

10:44 P.M.

Good night and a better tomorrow.

POSTSCRIPT:

For a more eloquent, sensitive live blog of President Obama’s SOTU address, please visit Andrew Sullivan:

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/01/liveblogging-the-sotu.html



Tiger, the USDA and Health Care Reform: Only Catcalls

December 10, 2009

I have been out of touch because my computer was in the shop.  It seems it was all virused up, kind of like our country.  Go figure.  But I learned a good lesson this week, having been sans computer: I started reading books again in longer segments than thirty-second bytes.  Furthermore, most news articles, commentaries and Op-Ed pieces get the job done much better than I do.  The one thing missing from all of those sources though, is my personal take on the issues at hand.

I find myself in a constant state of irritability and intermittent states of outrage over world, national and everyday life events.  In that regard, my hiatus from the computer was therapeutic.  Sometimes one’s inner peace can come from only shutting out the outside world.  That inner peace though, is still elusive because no matter how hard I try, the insanity continues.  And, of course, I have to react.  So let’s have at it.  Here are my most recent nominations for alas, only catcalls.

Catcalls and absolute disgust go to Tiger Woods for smashing his wife’s and children’s world.  As if our universe isn’t ugly and mean-spirited enough, individuals have to add insult to injury by behaving in destructive and selfish ways.  My heart goes out to Elin Woods and her kids.  My moral code has always been conservative; in my last post, I called for Tiger to behave properly if only for the sake of his children, tacitly assuming that the best path for the kids was for the parents to stay together.  I have changed my mind.  Elin should take her kids and get as far away, as fast as possible, from Tiger.  He is mentally diseased and I daresay, probably physically infected as well.  His expertise in whoring doesn’t hold a candle to his golfing ability.  What are we up to now: ten mistresses?  You know there are many more waiting in the wings.  Not only has Tiger slept with all of those women, but also he has exposed himself to all of these women’s previous partners.  What is worse, is that Elin has likewise been exposed, through no moral fault or wilfulness of her own.

Additionally, I have said it before and I will say it again: women are their own worst enemy.  All of these women knew Tiger was a married man with children.  Just because Tiger had no regard for his vows does not mean these women should exempt themselves from any moral stance.  Don’t get me wrong here: Tiger is the scum of the earth, but his partners in crime are similarly culpable.

While we are at it, let’s talk about Tiger’s commercial endorsements.  Many people think his participation in endorsements was that of a role model and that these companies should dump him from their ads.  Bulldoody.  Companies such as Nike, American Express, GM and Tag Heuer have no such consideration of using Tiger as a role model; all they are concerned with is how much product Tiger will sell for them.  It is all about bucks and their bottom line.  Of course they will end up dismissing him from their advertising ranks because net sales will fall.  Who would want to wear athletic shoes or a watch that is sported by such a slutty hooker and narcissistic individual?  So even though these companies couldn’t give a blasted bazooka for Tiger’s moral character, they will turn tail once sales drop.

I do not believe that a man such as Tiger can really clean up his life.  His obvious sense of entitlement prevents any consideration of anyone else.  Yes Siree: Elin should acknowledge her heartbreak, mourn the end of her marriage, take the kids away from their sick father and thank her lucky stars that she discovered Tiger’s pathological behavior so soon into their relationship.  If her moral being takes precedence over her desire for money, she will come out of this smelling like a rose, with some hope for peace for her family.

Disbelief and yes, unabashed outrage was my feeling when I read that fast food chains had higher safety requirements for their food than does school lunches for children:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2009-12-08-school-lunch-standards_N.htm

Another outrage.  Just like Tiger, the USDA talks the talk about how precious our children are, and then promptly institutes policies that completely negate that statement.  Pray tell, is there any justification to this policy except for the fact that children do not have the vote?  We need to shoot the messengers.

Finally, I offer the damnedest catcalls to our Congress.  The public option in health care reform is dead.  In its stead, we might get an expansion of Medicare to those 55 years and older, but this would be only for those who cannot afford private insurance.  Simply, we are extending the Medicaid program to older folks.  Reid caved, Pelosi folded and President Obama kept his distance.  Surely the main aspects of health care reform, i.e. no pre-existing conditions and no denial of medical care once diagnosed, are moot since this “reform” will not kick in for another four years.    In the interim, there will be no competition available to keep the insurance companies in check.  Thus premiums will continue their fantastic climb and many more millions of people will be without insurance — unless they join the rolls of Medicaid.  Above all, it is fine and dandy to say that health insurance is mandatory for all citizens, but it is a complete fairy tale if the majority cannot afford it.  Nothing from nothing is nothing.  Some hail this reform as just a beginning and that progress must occur in baby steps.  Who are they kidding?  The premise of having for-profit insurance companies run the health care show remains intact.  When this system implodes on itself, and it will, I will see you again.

I know many people out there are having similar doubts about Barack Obama the campaigner versus Barack Obama the President.  The two roles are worlds apart and discrepancies were bound to arise.  The promise versus the reality.  However, regarding health reform, what are we truly changing?  What good is it to forbid denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions and cessation of care for illness if most of the people cannot afford the coverage in the first place?   The corruption and greed of the private insurers are well-known and that will continue.  Why do I feel like I am in the Twilight Zone?  Why do I feel like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day”?  Congress and even our President can couch the legislation in all sorts of words of praise and benchmarks of supposed progress.  This bill is still a fraud.  Just like Tiger’s fake loyalty to his family and the USDA’s phony dedication to issue safe guidelines for school lunches, this health care bill is a hoax.  Tiger , the USDA and Congress’s attempts at health care reform are all full of hot air and provide merely lip service.

As a result of this deception,  I am tending towards the right-wing side of things.  If our government and military-industrial complex cannot offer Americans the care, consideration and basic rights that is ours, maybe the best antidote is for each person to earn as much money as they can, without concern for the ethics of its source following in the footsteps of our lawmakers, and take care of themselves first and foremost.  Heaven knows our government is not going to do it.  Heresy you say?  Our inept legislators are scary enough to make me just dig a hole for myself and hibernate.  Maybe big government should take a holiday from our lives and each and every one of us should rise or fall on our own.  It appears that is what is happening anyway.

Sorry: no kudos this week.  My irritability continues.  I think I was better off without my computer.

Females: Sacrificial Lambs For Health Care

November 10, 2009

I have drawn the line in the sand.  I cannot compromise any longer.  Yes: health care reform is a moral obligation.  The responsibility for affordable and accessible health care is an imperative for all Americans.  I am willing to pay more taxes to attain it.  I will begrudgingly succumb to a 20% increase in my annual premiums to ensure all Americans get the same health rights.  I am even open to an incremental reform agenda where we start out with a so-so public option and hopefully, someday, graduate to a fully universal, single payer system.  I am ready to put my patience to the test.  I acknowledge that this might take upwards of ten or twenty years to achieve.

What I am not willing to do is sacrifice my rights, as guaranteed by the United States Constitution, in pursuit of decent and fair health care for all concerned.   I am  livid at our elected legislators and our President, who seemed to go along with the games and power contests, better known as the Stupack Amendment,  in order to get a win in their column.  To sacrifice the rights of half of the American population, i.e. females, is a blatant disregard for women’s equality, as abortion was  legalized by our Constitution decades ago.  The Stupak stipulation states that those private insurance companies that participate in government sponsored health coverage may not pay for any abortions.  Not being able to afford an abortion is tantamount to being denied the right to have that procedure.  It is one thing for government-funded programs, such as Medicaid, to refuse abortion coverage (even though that Hyde Amendment is just as  unfair as the stupid Stupak one), but quite another thing for private insurance companies to do the same.  Additionally, the last time I checked, Catholic bishops and other prelates were not elected, nor seated, members of  Congress.

I am not up on the legal minutiae of reproductive rights.  Maybe some of you can help me with answers.  For example, in our current system, it is my assumption that private insurers consider abortions to be elective surgery, similar to cosmetic surgery, and thus do not cover it.  Also, I have heard many reports that private insurers do not cover prescriptions for birth control pills.  If this is generally true, how much more do women have to cede in securing health care for all?  Why are we the bargaining chips?  What about all those men who impregnated women with unplanned, unwanted children?  Any consequences for them?  Heavens no!  What if, as a deterrent to that irresponsible behavior, we shortened the length of men’s penises by one inch every time they were the other half of the formula in unwanted pregnancies?  Or perhaps, we should penalize these reluctant fathers by reducing their testosterone levels by 20% each time they have unprotected sex.  To boot, health insurance companies would not be obligated to pay for these procedures.  After all, what’s good for the goose should damn well be good for the gander.

I do appreciate that it is still early days in the health care debate.  Many people believe that this abortion fly- in- the- ointment will not appear in the final draft of legislation.  This does not soothe me and I greatly fear that women will be the trade-off for a national health plan.  It is degrading to my female personhood, which really is just a fluke of genetics, that my legal rights are being impugned.  How dare these lawmakers take away a right guaranteed by the Constitution?  And do not tell me that the right to abortion is separate than medical coverage for that right.  We all know the two cannot be separated.  As do the kingmakers in Congress and the religious right wingers and those Democrats who will sell half of our population down the river for a political victory.

This Stupak amendment is poison.  If ultimately passed, it would set a precedent of using discriminatory, anti-privacy laws against those who are entitled to such liberties.  Whether just a temporary bargaining chip or a proposal that will be incorporated into the final measure, it is a great injustice to women.  If I must fight even the members of my own party and a President whom I adore in order to make a stand for my individual rights, I will.  The line has been drawn and even the greater good is no excuse for taking away my freedom.  The very idea itself  is shocking.

If the Democrats and President Obama allow this article into the final bill, I do believe I have voted for the very last time.  Not a great loss in the actual scope of things, but definitely a sad, sad commentary on the morally and legally vacuous path our leaders are willing to make in their quest of palace envy.  While they are perfectly willing to trade away my rights for their policymaking, I do not see them swapping their own rights.  And this is one American citizen who will fight tooth and nail to not be used as a pawn in their game.

POSTSCRIPT:

Please go to my diary on the DailyKOS for some illuminating comments.  These readers have posted even more information that underscores the danger of the Stupak Amendment.  For example, while the Hyde Amendment must be renewed annually, the Stupak Amendment, if included in the health reform bill and if that bill is passed into law, is forever.  And babydoll, forever is a long, long time.  Here’s the link:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/11/10/803027/-Females:-Sacrificial-Lambs-For-Health-Care

Obstructing the Obvious

October 20, 2009

Am I just a simpleton, an intellectual featherweight, who looks for patterns and explanations, reasonable justifications, for truly ridiculous situations?  Or perhaps, I am able to see what is so obvious that it takes my breath away to observe how the powers that be and the general population cannot see the forest from the trees?  Is the obvious so damn obvious that people just ignore it?

Let us examine some specific examples of this delusion.  The Redskins, Washington, D.C.’s football team, has been a losing, floundering proposition ever since Dan Snyder bought that franchise in 1999.  The team has gone through so many different GM’s, coaches and players, still and yet with a losing record.  The only consistency during the last decade has been the ownership.  Could that ownership be the cause of the Redskins’ lethargy?  Seems like the most logical assumption to me.  Despite having had on board many talented players and truly experienced coaches (mind you, coaches who previously and subsequently to their Redskin tenure have been the top leaders in the NFL, e.g. Joe Gibbs, Marty Schottenheimer and Norv Turner), the Redskins are a pathetic excuse for a football team.

Dan Snyder’s objectives throughout his ownership seems to be for fulfillment of his ego first, his pocketbook second,  his win/loss record third and obligation to the fans dead last.  Eventually, the fans who make Snyder’s personal take from the team possible, will pull out their support and Snyder will either sell the team or make some overdue changes.  It is a repeat of the survival of the fittest: when the franchise can no longer reap the rewards of overpriced tickets due to their dreary, losing record, the owner will be forced to exit.  This is a form of natural selection, and I daresay that Snyder will be selectively ousted.  The only Redskin constants over the last ten years have been a losing record and Snyder’s ownership.  Is this as obvious as I think it is?

Another example of the “Duh! Phenomenon” involves the recent refusal of a judge in Louisiana to marry an interracial couple.  Justice of the Peace Keith Bardwell, an elected Republican servant, denied a marriage license to the couple in question based solely on racial concerns.  What century is the judge living in?  Is he not aware of the Supreme Court ruling of 1967,  Loving v. Virginia, that outlawed, MADE UNCONSTITUTIONAL, the obstruction or failure to carry out interracial marriage?  Judge Bardwell is not a legal entity unto himself; he was elected to rule based on our Constitution.  Any refusal to do so can be seen as a violation of our law and he should have been put off the court and released of his duties as soon as he decided to editorialize and act upon his own law.  Isn’t that as obvious as the nose on your face?  Why is he still holding on to his job?

Thirdly, and of the highest importance, is the current state of our financial industry and it’s effects on other legislation, i.e. health care reform.  I must note that, just like Dan Snyder who is a private entrepreneur in a private business who can do whatever he wants with his assets, the private banks are somewhat different.  They have a responsibility to their shareholders.  Furthermore, once these banks accepted federal bailout funds, they also must answer to each and every one of us taxpayers and the government.  How come the government does not see this obligation?  Why are the financial companies still paying out huge bonuses on the backs of our taxpayers?  And why in all of heaven and earth, is the government permitting that?  The United States Treasury gave out hundreds of billions of dollars to this industry that is continuing exactly those practices that almost brought them to their knees one year ago.  Why?

I just love the fallacy of protecting these financial behemoths with the excuse that “They are too big to be allowed to fail.”  Once again, it is absolutely clear to me (and any moron) that if these companies are too big to fail, they most certainly are too big to exist.  DUH!

I might have an answer.  For the government to completely take over the financial industry would be cause for many to scream “Socialism”.  Here is my interpretation.  We will get something of a public option in health care reform to OFFSET the greed and corruption of the financial industry.  The lead article in the Washington Post today (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/19/AR2009101902451.html?nav=hcmodule), sure enough, cites the increased demand for a public option.  Basically, we are going to make the private insurance industry be the sacrificial lamb in return for the lack of regulation and oversight of our financial sector.  Since the American people have an attention span of about three seconds (thank you Roselie) plus the fact that our legislators will not put their reputations and elective powers on the line to change our economic structure, the greed and corruption of the financial industry will live on.  However, seeing the negative reaction of Americans to this outrage, our lawmakers will, to some degree, be willing to cut off the insurance companies by passing a weak public option.  Having been the victims of a near financial collapse, our citizens have undergone major economic losses, one result being that they can no longer afford health insurance.  Thus, by forcing real competition on the private insurers, our lawmakers are “punishing” one greedy sector of our economy for the sins of another.  Since the financial industry was a major CAUSE of our hardships, the private insurers are going to have to pay so that the EFFECTS of that corruption can be somewhat cleaned up.  The ongoing feeding frenzy of the financial industry is going to have to be paid for by the insurance industry.  Obvious?   Displacement behavior?  Sure.  Fake retribution?  Definitely.  It sure beats taking the time and effort to solve the problem structurally.  In this way, we are not resolving the problems in our financial industry nor are we offering a strong enough public option.  It is a lose/lose proposition.

In the United States, we are all experts at obstructing the obvious, whether it be sports, law, finance or government.  Things are complicated enough, sure.  So why, when we are presented with a clear and defined issue, do we not jump on it and correct it?  Do you think it could be that the more confusion we reap, the more personal gain might be in it?  That couldn’t possibly be: it is too obvious.

Who Needs Government — Besides the Politicians?

September 25, 2009

It has come to my attention that many Republicans are calling for a hiatus of government interference across the board on issues ranging from financial practices to health care.  People such as Sarah Palin and Eric Cantor are adamant that government has no place in providing financial oversight and scrutiny to the forces that rule our economy nor a safety net of social services to the people for such basic needs as health care.

The supposed leaders are not only stupid theoreticians with no foothold in providing actual help to a needy population, but are also demonstrating their desire to participate in a government that offers THEM the exact benefits they would deny everyone else.  Furthermore, while they want the government totally out of actually helping people, they want just enough government in place to support their jobs running a country with the least amount of government as possible.  How about having a government that works for the people instead of the elected officials?  My take on their stance is similar to Shakespeare’s quip about “First thing we do is kill all the lawyers”.  I say that we should get rid of these blood-sucking politicians who want no government for the people but indeed want just enough government to maintain their cushy, benefit-laden jobs IN the government.

Just look at our Sarah: still the poster child for stupidity, gallivanting around the globe and speaking about how government interference is the death (not ANOTHER death panel?) of freedom.  Sure.  Easy for her to say —- at a purported quarter of a million dollars a pop in speaking fees.  Yet she hounds her audience that for the government to step in and make financial policies and transactions safer and more ethical for everyone is the end of all of our freedoms.  That may be true in terms of HER financial goals of totally free enterprise and capitalistic laissez-faire, but certainly not true regarding the majority of Americans who are just trying to keep a job, or invest safely or just keep their heads above water.  I might be convinced of her stridency about removing government interference if only I could witness ONE poor person in favor of this capitalistic musing.  Do you happen to know just one?

And Representative Eric Cantor from (oh dear!) Virginia is even more insistent in his beliefs that government has no place to help those that the government was designed to, well ….. help.  His anti-government,  main thrust now is health care reform.  Just the other day, a woman in his listening audience came up to the microphone and told Cantor about a dire situation in which one of her relatives found herself.  She asked for Cantor’s advice.  Here is the video clip:

http://thinkprogress.org/2009/09/22/cantor-uninsured-option/

Can you believe that Cantor told this woman to find some charity to take care of her relative’s cancer situation?  Right then and there, the woman should have asked Cantor if HE would kick in a couple of thousand dollars to help cover the cost of this immediately needed, life-saving surgery.   How can Cantor justify his incredible health benefits through his job yet in the same breath, deny someone else’s rights just because they lost their job?  By the time this patient goes through the red tape of a charitable organization or existing government program, she will be dead.

Health care comes down to EMPATHY, fairness, equity of freedom and immediate access to medical care.  Eric Cantor does not need to wait weeks or months to get a medical problem tended to.  Why should ANY American not be able to walk into any health facility and get the same care?  Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia has it right: there must be a public option.  Period. Finito.

So these Republicans who preach against government interference for everyone else have no right to do so because they are speaking from a position of strength.  Let them give up their salaries, lose their hard-earned savings due to corrupt and criminal financial practices, and sacrifice their health care benefits so that they too, just like the general public, have no access to or coverage for medical care.  Then, maybe just THEN, they might call FOR government “interference” just a wee bit to cover their own asses.

As I told you yesterday, I am back.  With a vengeance!

What We Know

September 15, 2009

Here’s what we already know about health care reform:

1.  Over 70% of Americans want the public option as a choice to their health care coverage.

2.  Over 70% of physicians support the public option.

3.  That sector of the population that is almost uniformly opposed to a public option is the senior age group.  The great irony is that they already have a government supported medical plan in Medicare but they do not want anybody else to have access to that type of plan lest it impinge on the their own benefits.  What nerve.

4.  Health coops will not work.  The pools created by this program will not be large enough to foster the necessary shared risk.

5.  The trigger idea is equally useless.  To wait five years to see if the insurance companies will tow the line in terms of no pre-existing conditions, no cancellation of policies once a person becomes sick and competitive pricing of premiums has been disastrous for decades.  Why would the insurance companies, all of a sudden, get religion and act ethically?  Just look at the following compensation packages for the heads of the leading insurance companies:

http://www.healthreformwatch.com/2009/05/20/health-insurance-ceos-total-compensation-in-2008/

This folly has been going on for a very long time, despite the ranks of our uninsured steadily and alarmingly increasing.  There are no regulations to police the pricing of health care policies and likewise, absolutely no rules for sick people actually permitted to maintain those policies.  If this is the “free market” in which we take such pride, it is the biggest sham in the world.  For Heaven’s sake, even our prisoners are guaranteed health care.  Is a prerequisite for medical care robbery or murder?  What’s wrong with law-abiding, everyday Americans who are literally dying to get treated?  This very sorry state of affairs in our country speaks volumes to the kind of society we live in and the lack of appropriate values.  Shame on us.

6.  As the poster child of the absence of regulation, not to mention ethics, transparency or oversight, the bailed-out financial industry has NEVER instituted reforms and regulations to prevent a future meltdown.  They are currently packaging yet even more suspect investments to peddle to even more greedy investors.  Always remember: it takes two to tango.  The greed of Wall Street is only superceded by that of their own customers.  If we are not going to have “systemic reform” in  our financial industry, either by regulations imposed internally or by the federal government, there should be no further bailouts.  Those individuals and fiduciaries who want to get in on the game, should be responsible for their own risks and losses.  Furthermore, if there is no attempt to prevent these mega-companies to cut down their size and thus, their impact on the economy should they hit the skids again, they should be left to fail.  Period.

7.  President Obama is not a wizard.  He knew coming into this administration that the problems were severe and not easily fixed.  Based on our form of government, there is just so much he can do to remedy the corruption disguised as capitalism.  However, his party (at least) better get behind him or it will all be for naught.  These two Op-Ed articles explain the situation well:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/24/opinion/24douthat-1.html?scp=1&sq=obama%20vs.%20the%20democrats%20on%20health%20care%20op-ed&st=cse

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/12/opinion/12herbert.html

8.  What we are faced with right now in our health care reform debate is the thugs, i.e. the GOP, versus the wimps, i.e. the Democrats.  Our lawmakers do not concern themselves with the well-being of our average Joes (Although Joe the Plumber and good ole’ Rep. Joe Wilson seem to be getting their piece of the American dream.  Some role models, no?)

So this is all we know.   Isn’t it enough information, enough  of a basis, to stimulate us to make some real changes?  The even more sobering thought is that what we DON’T know might be even worse.  But not to worry: what we DO already know will probably kill us before we get to the unknown part.

Have a nice day:)!!!!!!!!!

We Can’t Afford To Wait

September 8, 2009

I have found that my postings on this site are either REACTIVE to the day’s news reports or CONTEMPLATIVE when I do not have access to the internet or media.  Personally, I find the second type more fulfilling because a lack of media allows me to mull things over and piece together my own thoughts with no influence from outside forces.

This entry will be totally reactive, a knee-jerk response, to the fire in my belly regarding the need for health care reform.  I will keep it short.  The most amazing thing to me is NOT that close to 50 million Americans are uninsured, NOT that insurance companies cancel their policyholders’ insurance when they get a serious disease, but that when a person loses his job and the circumstances are even more important then for him to have health insurance, it is taken away from him.  The cruel irony is NOT that the richest nation on earth does not provide decent and fair health care for its people, but that when its citizens are down and out, whatever benefits they did have are swept away.  By delegating health care responsibilities to employers, our country is simply passing the buck, avoiding their own responsibility.  This abrogation of human rights unbelievable.  R.E.M and MoveOn have partnered in this very effective video:

Over 70% of Americans want a public option.  That comes to over 200 million people.  Where the hell are they?  A little civil disobedience, even clogging up Congress’s phones, would go a long way in telling our elected officials, whose salaries WE pay, the kind of health care we demand.  CALL THIS NUMBER TODAY AND LET YOUR GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES KNOW, IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS, THAT WE NEED A PUBLIC OPTION NOW:

202-224-3121

We can’t afford to wait.