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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Public Option Health Care For All Who Want It?

I am writing this from Washington, DC, although it will be posted later. I attended the rally/protest attended by around 250 people who came as far as California, Arizona, Minnesota, Illinois and Pennsylvania supporting single-payer and public option health care. The day was sunny and hot, but was held in the partially shaded Upper Senate Park a stone’s throw from the senate office buildings. The opulence surrounding the city’s taxpayer funded government machine was very blatant. The over abundance of black SUV limousines used for the security industrial complex and by the highly paid legislators who receive the nation’s best retirement and health insurance plans were lined up all over the senate office complex.

I wore a button stating that I was representing a young man, 24 years young, who died just days before from an undetected heart condition. He died in his sleep. He had no health insurance.

The speakers ranged from Senator Bernie Sanders, Congressman John Conyers, and those in the medical profession, including President Obama’s personal physician, and those hardworking individuals running single-payer lobbying organizations.

President Obama’s personal physician is in support of a single-payer health care system for this country, as well as other representatives of physician groups stating their case for the need of a single-payer system. The private health insurance system operating in the United States, currently, has become the most expensive health care system in the world, yet it delivers a very low quality of care relative to the high costs. It ranks only one notch above Slovenia in the quality of care delivered, while embarrassingly below Costa Rica. It ranks number 37 in the world based on statistics taken in 2000. Also, 50 people die every day in the United States as a result of not having health care.

The most important point I came away with from listening to all the voices speaking for a single-payer system was that the insurance companies in this country are parasites sucking out the nation’s personal wealth for themselves. The tens of billions of dollars they drain from the economy every year gets channeled into networks guaranteeing that their profit-making pariah tentacles remain fully intact without interruption. Their parasitic reach has paid out trillions of dollars over the past decade to lobbyists who influence legislation by contributing millions to both parties, $126.8 million, as well as assisting lawmakers in the process of writing bills, and more, some of which could be called influence peddling.

The top three Blue Dog Democratic recipients of health care industry contributions were Rep. Earl Pomeroy (N.D.), with $1.5 million, and Tennessee Reps. Bart Gordon and John Tanner, both of who collected over $1.2 million from the industry and its employees.

The probability of Democrats voting for a public option plan based upon insurance industry contributions can be viewed through this link.

The health industries have also steadily increased their lobbying campaign from $448.1 million in 2007 to $484.4 million in 2008. Senator Max Baucus, who collected $3 million from the health and insurance sectors from 2003 to 2008, has backed away from supporting the public option. Could it be that his insurance industry influence peddler’s got to him?

They also exist as the wall between patient and doctor. This is done by excessively micro-managing the medical decisions doctors make on behalf of their patients. Because of such oversight, patients may not get approved by their insurance companies for critically needed tests, procedures or medications required for the maintenance of personal health and wellness.

With a single-payer system it would eliminate the middleman allowing a closer relationship between doctor and patient. It would also take out the $17.8 billion per year sucked out of the economy by the top twelve private insurers, which if applied to a single-payer system would bring down the actual cost of insuring every American. The administrative costs are around 20% under the private insurance system. In contrast, under the public system of Medicare, those administrative costs are under 6%. Health care spending amounts to 17% of the nation’s GDP.

You might find the Kaiser Family Foundation data page worth reading.

The public option plan, and not to be confused with the Blue DogShit Coalition’s insurance give-away called the Co-op Plan, would empower Americans to lower the private insurer’s premium costs, and prescription drug costs by having the plan negotiate better bulk purchases. The public option is better than continuing with the proprietary system we have now with over 1500 different health insurance companies and just as many rules, restrictions and obstacles.

The public option would allow individuals to seamlessly carry their health plan wherever they go: from job to job, state to state, or when transitioning as an employee to becoming self-employed. The opposition does not understand that the public option is NOT a socialized system, but a public-private partnership, since private insurance plans would remain intact, while a single-payer system would actually be Medicare for all.

Medicare has been a life-saving system over the last 44 years helping to keep seniors out of poverty by covering their health care needs; otherwise, many seniors might be forced to choose between other daily life essentials and paying for their personal health care. Even today, many seniors are choosing between heating in the winter and cooling in the summer over their nutritional needs. Now, if they had to pay for their health insurance, many would go without and use hospital emergency rooms as their primary care doctors.

Even William Kristol, senior editor of the extremely conservative publication called the Weekly Standard, said on the Daily Show, hosted by Jon Stewart, that the Veterans Administration’s public health care system is the best in the country, therefore he reluctantly had to agree with Stewart that the government is very capable of delivering the best health care system in the country if properly funded!

So conservatives, it has been said by one of your own that a single-payer or public option health care system would be the best system in the country if passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama. He relented into agreeing that the government is more than capable of providing a quality insurance system, if properly funded.

The month of August is the time to personally lobby your Congressperson on behalf of the public option without the insurance industry gift called health care co-ops. Call or send a hard copy letter to your senator(s) and House member letting them know what kind of system you want them to support when it comes up for a vote. Time is running out. In addition, you might also write a letter to President Obama stating that you don’t want him to sign a watered down bill, but a strong and solid bill empowering patients/citizens through a quality public option health care plan.

Let me conclude with the names of some of the Congressional whores who have taken much from the health care industry. These Congressional prostitutes act as if they are the representatives for the various health care corporations instead of the voters who elected them. Here are a few. Let us begin with the Republican whores and how much they got from the corporations:

----Senator John Thune: $1.2 million

----Representative Ginny Brown-Waite: $369,000

----Senator Mitch McConnell: $3.1 million

----Representative Joe Barton: $2 million

----Senator John McCain: $1.6 million

Here are a few of the Blue Dogshit Democratic whores and how much they took:

----Senator Max Baucus: $3.8 million

----Representative Mike Ross: bought and paid for for only $929,000

----Representative Bart Gordon: sold out for $1 million


And, President Obama received $18 million.


I guess it is up to the public to decide if they believe that health care is a right and not a privilege. It would be my belief that the young man, who I knew personally, would have said that health care was a right. Had he had health care, he might have lived to see his dreams and aspirations come true. It appears that the Congressional whores owned by the health care industry don't believe so.

Thanks for reading, jerry

21 comments:

Clifton said...

Very informative article - thanks. And thanks for caring enough about everyone's health care to make the trip to Washington!

As I read your article I wondered if another factor is at play in the U.S. that gets overlooked. In other countries, I understand the medical profession is not so highly regulated, and as a result, more professionals can give more medical treatments. The supply of professionals is greater, and supply/demand principles reduce costs to the consumers. In America, the practice of medicine is more highly regulated, in a puzzling mish-mash of rules (e.g. doctors must prescribe prescription medicine but not some equally risky herbs). So in this country doctors are (though less so than in the past) a group that have paid dearly for their medical education with the expectation that they will be rewarded in practice. I read what you said about insurance companies meddling in the doctor-patient relationship, but having seen and heard of wasteful procedures, part of me is glad the companies act as watchdogs. Some doctors have expected too much and in the past the system did not protect against their abuses - there needs to be some oversight. Obviously the U.S. litigation mentality doesn't help either, and is something other countries don't have to deal with. The risk of litigation drives up costs by encouraging over-testing, etc. The insurance companies have come to play a not-always-public-minded role in our system just like the doctors, lawyers, and patients, and the laws themselves. The system is entrenched and any solution will need to deal with all the factors.

SPECTRE of Deflation said...

Jerry, while I was away I read a story out of the UK where a Board of some kind decided that a 27 year old man who needed an organ transplant was denied the organ and died. This is what we are asking for? We want other people making our medical decisions? How far behind are euthanasia for our seniors who may not be ready to go dust to dust just yet? I wasn't at your rally, but if I had of been, I would of worn a sign of some kind for that un-named young man in the UK.

I'm also thinking of the thousands of Vets who must now worry about Hepatitis and HIV because the damned instruments weren't sterilized before they recieved a colonoscopy.

There is always the other side of the coin Jerry.

SPECTRE of Deflation said...

Jerry, I'm back, so please don't turn me in, and also put in a call to Helen Thomas since the article mentions Tricky Dicky :>)

The Obama White House is calling for informer-citizens to denounce opponents of the president’s health care plan. A post on the White House website posted today reads:

There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov.

The post by Macon Phillips, the White House Director of New Media, does not indicate what the Obama White House will do with the information.

In the waning days of the election, St. Louis and Missouri sheriffs and top prosecutors announced a plan to arrest and prosecute Obama opponents. “A local television station’s coverage of a Missouri campaign ‘truth squad’ on behalf of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has touched off a national Internet frenzy,” the Detroit Free Press reported on September 30, 2008. “What has prompted all the furor is that several members of the Obama’s ‘truth squad’ in Missouri are prosecutors or members of law enforcement. They include St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer and St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch. All are Democrats.”



“What Senator Obama and his helpers are doing is scandalous beyond words, the party that claims to be the party of Thomas Jefferson is abusing the justice system and offices of public trust to silence political criticism with threats of prosecution and criminal punishment,” Gov. Matt Blunt responded. “This abuse of the law for intimidation insults the most sacred principles and ideals of Jefferson. I can think of nothing more offensive to Jefferson’s thinking than using the power of the state to deprive Americans of their civil rights.”

(ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW)



Although the Obama administration has yet to call for prosecuting Obamacare opponents, the fact they are compiling a list of suspects is seriously troubling and reveals the authoritarian mindset of the administration.

It also brings to mind Nixon’s enemies list compiled by convicted criminal Charles Colson. Nixon’s list of political opponents would eventually total of over 30,000 names.

Considering the large number of Americans opposed to Obamacare, it is possible Obama’s list of political enemies may exceed that number in short order.

carlandjerry said...

SPECTRE--One can find examples of where a doctor screwed up in both the private and public sectors. Nothing is perfect, nor will it ever be.

What we have now are insurance companies acting as the "Board" you have referred to as the "people making our medical decisions". The insurance companies have refused many, while reaping trillions in profits over the years handing over fat bonuses and high flying expense account vouchers as procedures are refused.

Clifton--thanks for the comments. You brought up good points. But let us not forget where America stands in the list of health care in the world. One notch above Slovenia and one below Costa Rica.

36 other countries deliver better health care and are public systems keeping costs lower per person for the amount spent.

Drugs in this country are controlled for the purpose of keeping the prices high. In other countries, the same drugs are sold over-the-counter at a fraction of the cost.

Yes, medical students pay dearly for their education and believe that once practicing they are entitled to million dollar salaries. The sense of entitlement is overwhelming, in my opinion. I thought that there was a humanitarian purpose in choosing medicine as a profession, and not just a financial reason, as was found in recent surveys of current medical students. Many surveyed said they are choosing medicine to make money.

As I mentioned to SPECTRE, we can find doctors prescribing wasteful procedures anywhere. There are good practices and bad practices in every profession all over the globe. Nothing is perfect.

Look at the bad decisions made at Enron, Worldcom, GM, GE, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Tyco, etc.

I don't see the insurance companies looking after the needs of the patients when they are acting as "watchdogs", they are acting simply to protect their profits, stockholders and bondholders. Nothing more than that.

I do not believe anyone in Congress is asking for a decrease or loosening of oversight or protection from abuses when writing a bill that would advocate for a public option.

The taxpayers and lawmakers don't want runaway costs or a laissez faire public option plan. They surely don't want conservatives to rail up in anger wagging their fingers saying, "I told ya so! Those Dems have ruined health care with runaway costs and diminished oversight."

Hey all, thanks for reading and commenting!!!

jerry

carlandjerry said...

Hi SPECTRE, I must say that if were president, I would be going after any opponents of mine if they are opposing my recommendations solely due because they are representing corporations and not the people of the nation. The majority of the people in the nation are upset with corporate health care, and want a public option.

The bootie hauled in by congressional members from health care lobbyists and insurance companies is unbelievable.

Now, the end of life consulting to elderly patients is all that is. How is that different from abortion counseling? The elderly need to understand that certain procedures may not increase the quality of their life, but destroy it. Dying with dignity should be understood.

Obama does not seem to be tapping into phone conversations, reading emails, going through garbage cans etc as Little Boy Bush had done, or Nixon had done with their spying tactics. But to go after the hypocrites in Congress who are saying they object to Obamacare for reasons other than continuing the gravy-train delivered by lobbyists and insurance companies should be done!

jerry

SPECTRE of Deflation said...

Jerry, as you say, we can cherry-pick what we like, but I just wanted to show that there is indeed another point of view. I'm for fixing the problems such as pre-existing conditions and medication without going to the public trough to do so. Hell, let them write/right the laws that demand it, but don't tread on my ass to do so. Just like with the drug plan, we have been over promised and underfunded for this next boatload of Bills, Notes and Bonds that fewer and fewer want. From a practical standpoint, and you may not believe this, we are broke. It will become cystal clear soon enough I'm afraid, and healthcare will be the least of our problems. I wanted to thank you for allowing different points of view and to say that you truly do represent the highest standards of our forefathers!

SPECTRE of Deflation said...

I'm reminded of the phrase, every journey begins with a first step, and I think the Republicans are as guilty as the Democrats as I have stated many times:

Obama does not seem to be tapping into phone conversations, reading emails, going through garbage cans etc as Little Boy Bush had done, or Nixon had done with their spying tactics. But to go after the hypocrites in Congress who are saying they object to Obamacare for reasons other than continuing the gravy-train delivered by lobbyists and insurance companies should be done!

carlandjerry said...

SPECTRE, you are so right. Both parties are to blame for the collapse of this nation's economy and way of life! Many have been in office way too long and have been there because they have kissed the wallets of lobbyists, corporations, and others, so as to keep the nation's best health care policies, the favors, the privileges and the retirement plans.

Regarding health care, I am not sure what you mean about you not wanting the lawmakers to get in the way of what you have? As it stands, you will have your insurance. And, if the health care companies decide they cannot make a profit, believe me, there will be more not-for-profit health care companies rising up to fill the gap.

The nation is theoretically broke. I agree. There is more of the nation's economic infrastructure yet to fall through the unstable and rotten floors before it reaches the foundation.

Thanks for your point of views, Spectre! I appreciate it.

SPECTRE of Deflation said...

Back at you Jerry, as I find you interesting, insightful and principled which are rare qualities indeed in today's world I'm sorry to say. A toast to you tonite as I sip my favorite beverage, depends on how the market ends :>)!!, while contemplating the expansion of the Universe. LOL! I have become a cynic I'm afraid Jerry because of things like this from a fellow blogger discussing Bond Auctions which after reading scares the Hell out of me. I watch the credit markets closely, and this looks like some bad JU-JU my friend. Hurricane Season has arrived.

"Shaky auctions of Treasury notes this week reignited concerns about whether the government can attract buyers from China and elsewhere to soak up trillions in new debt.

“A fuse was lit this week when traders noted China's apparent absence from direct participation in two Treasury bond auctions. While China may have bought Treasurys just before the auctions, market participants read the country's actions as a worrying sign that China and other foreign investors may be ratcheting back purchases at a time when the U.S. is seeking to fund a $1.8 trillion budget deficit.

“This week alone, the U.S. deluged the bond market with more than $200 billion in record-size sales. The U.S. has had little trouble finding buyers in recent months. But that demand is fading, and the Treasury market has become volatile."

Uncle Sam is goosing the bond market just like he is the stock market. Take a look at Treasury's latest bit of chicanery which was stuffed in the back pages of the Wall Street Journal back in June:

"The sudden increase in demand by foreign buyers for Treasurys, hailed as proof that the world's central banks are still willing to help absorb the avalanche of supply, mightn't be all that it seems.

“When the government sells bonds, traders typically look at a group of buyers called indirect bidders, which includes foreign central banks, to divine overseas demand for U.S. debt. That demand has been rising recently, giving comfort to investors that foreign buyers will continue to finance the U.S.'s budget deficit.

“But in a little-noticed switch on June 1, the Treasury changed the way it accounts for indirect bids, putting more buyers under that umbrella and boosting the portion of recent Treasury sales that the market perceived were being bought by foreigners." ("Is foreign Demand as Solid as it Looks, Min zeng)


Nice touch, eh? So, someone doesn't want you and me to know when foreign demand drops off a cliff, so they just bend-and-twist the definitions so they meet the Fed's requirements. How's that for transparency?. Apparently, Bernanke et al. don't believe the Chinese have translators who can make sense of all this subterfuge. That may be a miscalculation, however, given recent rumblings from the Orient.

But, perhaps, Bernanke knows that foreign demand for Treasuries will dry up and has made other plans to stabilize the dollar already. Maybe he worked out an agreement with the banks that if he pumped up the stock market--which he has--and built up the banks equity position--which he has---the banks would return the favor by buying up the lion's-share of Treasuries.
(SNIP)

SPECTRE of Deflation said...

Clifton, how about we reduce the amount of ABA grads and increase the amount of MDs, Physicians Asst. and nurse practitioners in their place so that quality medicine is given to all while those who live on litigation starve for a change.

Graycrow said...

President Obama is brave to tackle healthcare. He is doing it probably because he cares, also because he promised to before the election. I seem to remember Clinton tried to tackle this issues early in his first term. Probably for the same reasons.

I expect Obama to fail for the same reason Clinton did. Hope he defies my expectations, but those guys in the lobbies have a lot of money to throw around.

carlandjerry said...

SPECTRE, you got it! Bada Bing Bernanke is hoping that the investment banks will end up mopping up U.S. Treasurys about to go up on auction. Bernanke had already printed out billions of unaccounted for dollars to buy up Treasurys wanting to get sold.

China has no takers for their own Treasurys because many know they are bubbling over. They may too find themselves taking a Bubble Bath.

jerry

carlandjerry said...

Graycrow, I, too, hope that the country's 40 million can find a health care plan passed by congress. I have my doubts.

I appreciate you reading the blog and taking the time to make a relevant comment. Thanks!

jerry

Clifton said...

New drugs are subject to protection by a strong (but certainly not perfect) patent system in the U.S. That's not the case in many other countries. The result is that U.S. consumers pay more than their fair share - in the form of high drug prices - to create the carrot that spurs new drug research.

Limiting the number of new lawyers could help. But if tort-law opportunities for litigation aren't reduced at the same time, a reduction in the number of lawyers may simply allow the lawyers who remain to charge higher fees, and possibly hire paralegals and technical assistants to adjust to the attorney shortage.

carlandjerry said...

Clifton, thanks for the explanation. Dr. Dean Baker, one of the first (progressive) economists to predict this economic collapse, wrote in his book The Nanny State that the U.S. subsidizes the drug industry for drug research in many ways. One way has been through the National Institute of Health which does much drug research for the industry. Hospital studies and trials has been an other way. He believes that there is really no reason for the high cost of drugs since government pays for much of the research. It is Dr. Baker's proposal that the government pay for ALL drug research, hold the patents, and create an environment whereby the drug industry is responsible for ONLY the manufacturing of drugs, which would lower the costs dramatically.

jerry

SPECTRE of Deflation said...

Just to give everyone an idea of the magnitude of our problems, we can look no further than 34 million Americans on Food Stamps. Folks, we are talking about the entire population of Canada (34 Million) needing govt. assistence to simply keep their families from going hungry. This is one example, but damn, what an example.

There is now solid proof the FED is monetizing by backdooring with the PDs to hide monetization by way of POMO purchases. The 7 YR. Note went off without a hitch last week one day after a near fail on the 5 YR., but we now know the FED just bought these same notes one week later from the PD. 47% of the $10 Billion bought last week was monetized this week through a POMO. We are so F***ED I don't have a verb that captures the carnage. Protect yourselves as best you can guys and gals. Gale Force Warning now posted although the BLS lied again this AM to goose the market. By adding back in those who exhausted their benifits we get the real picture which is FUGLY as Hell. Tie everything down folks, and please do pay attention to the man behind the curtain because he's one evil bastard!

Urban_Underclass said...

Just to go off topic for a second, but that video clip of the empty office buildings in China is amazing. I don't believe we are being told how bad the global economy really is.

carlandjerry said...

SPECTRE, Hi there. I agree with you that
we need to get ready for a storm. It is hard to say
when this will happen. It is all a game between
nations to see which one will be the first to dump Treasuries, or not. The illusion that the economy is improving has not woken many up. I guess we need to just pay attention.

Urban Underclass, thanks for checking out the
Blogspot. I appreciate your comment. The short
video on the vacant buildings in China is an
eye opener.

I checked out your blogspot on life in Wexford, Ireland and enjoyed it a lot.

Thanks, jerry

Urban_Underclass said...

Jerry,

Glad you liked my blog , I put a link to your's on mine as I kind of collect interesting, independent minded political blogs.

Regands,
Rory

jessica said...

Ya its more to understand the medical profession...
___________________
Jessica
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jessica said...

It would be my belief that the young man, who I knew personally, would have said that health care was a right.

___________________
Jessica
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