July 20, 2009
Cantwell and the Public Option
Her office presented us with a letter (dated July 9th) that was unambiguous in her support for a public option:
I also received letter in the mail shortly afterward from the Senator dated one day earlier that says,
Let me be clear: a public option needs to be part of health care reform. I am pushing for a public option that will keep insurance companies honest by competing to drive down costs and improve quality nation-wide. This plan needs to be accountable to the people and must work to provide the best coverage for the best price.
Good news, right? The Senator pretty dramatically shifted her position from one day to the next. Except that she has issued no press release to this effect, and news media are left guessing about her intentions.
"An effective public option could help improve access to high quality health care....however, this will only be achieved if we take full advantage of our opportunity to overhaul America's health care system, instead of just expanding the flaws that exist in the current Medicare program."
Is the Senator saying one thing to protesters and another to the general public? If so, why?
July 11, 2009
Hey, we're on TV
Our health care rally got picked up on the evening news, in the Seattle PI, in the Stranger, and on local blogs including one of the most prominent, HorsesAss.org.
And here are some links to more coverage:
Please let me know if you see any more articles!
July 08, 2009
Thursday's Health Care Rally Featured in the Seattle PI
[T]he real craziness -- in a country where 46 million citizens lack health insurance -- is that so many have remained on the sidelines.
The most powerful lobbies in American society sure are involved.
July 07, 2009
Urgent: Health Care will be Fixed in July or Not At All
January 09, 2006
Health Care Spending Engulfing Economy
The government released fresh evidence today that health care costs are causing significant damage to the economy. According to the Washington Post,
Rising health care costs, already threatening many basic industries, now consume 16 percent of the nation's economic output—the highest proportion ever, the government said yesterday in its latest calculation…Even as health care costs continue to escalate, however, many Americans—especially minorities and the poor—still do not receive high-quality care, according to two other federal reports yesterday...
Political, medical and economic leaders and experts have long warned that health care cost trends will gradually overwhelm the economy, and many companies now complain that employee and retiree health costs are making them less competitive. Yesterday's report added new reasons to worry.
The article also contains this illuminating quotation:
"This is an alarming situation, but it's more like a creeping infection than a broken bone, and so people get used to it," said Edward Howard, executive vice president of the Alliance for Health Reform, a nonprofit education group chaired by Sens. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) and Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). "Frankly, I don't see major change until people who have some sort of organized political influence start hurting a little more."
There you have it; Congressional leaders are ignoring the 40% of the population that is uninsured because they don't have enough political clout. That's not surprising, but it's surprising that this politician would admit it so frankly. Will we really have to wait until the economy suffers badly enough to wake these guys up?
August 19, 2005
Why Conservatives Killed Health Care Reform
It’s impossible to talk about healthcare reform without mentioning President Clinton’s efforts to improve the system. We all know he wasn’t able to do it, and we’re all living with the consequences.
It’s important then, to keep in mind exactly why conservatives opposed his initiative so vociferously. This particular quote from a historical timeline of the initiative sums it up:
December 2, 1993 - Leading conservative operative William Kristol privately circulates a strategy document to Republicans in Congress. Kristol writes that congressional Republicans should work to "kill"—not amend—the Clinton plan because it presents a real danger to the Republican future: Its passage will give the Democrats a lock on the crucial middle-class vote and revive the reputation of the party. Nearly a full year before Republicans will unite behind the "Contract With America," Kristol has provided the rationale and the steel for them to achieve their aims of winning control of Congress and becoming America's majority party. Killing health care will serve both ends. The timing of the memo dovetails with a growing private consensus among Republicans that all-out opposition to the Clinton plan is in their best political interest. Until the memo surfaces, most opponents prefer behind-the-scenes warfare largely shielded from public view. The boldness of Kristol's strategy signals a new turn in the battle. Not only is it politically acceptable to criticize the Clinton plan on policy grounds, it is also politically advantageous.
So basically the attitude of congressional Republicans was: “screw the people, what counts most is our own political gain.” After all, congressmen receive an excellent government provided healthcare plan. They had nothing to lose.
[Some will claim that the Democrats are similarly opposing Bush’s Social Security scheme out of political opportunism. The difference is that rather than looking out for the average American, William Kristol and other conservative strategists have wanted to kill Social Security for years. Their strategy, which is Bush’s, was articulated by the bowtie-wearing College Republicans: “Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Social Security has Got to Go.”]
We know these guys are never going to fix the healthcare system. Where are the leaders who will? Which candidate is running on a universal healthcare platform? Let me know so I can support their campaign.
August 09, 2005
Moving Back to America: Health Care
In a few months, I’ll move back to the United States after five years of living abroad. I can’t wait to be home again and to be closer to family and friends. However, there are some annoying administrative details to sort out, the worst of which is researching health care plans for my wife and me. The process is only slightly more enjoyable than a Chlamydia test.
In England, we were covered by National Insurance. While hospitals are dreary and long delays for non-urgent care are common, the system is universal and it works better than ours—the average life expectancy in England is 78.5, slightly higher than America’s 77.2.
In France, the system is more expensive for the state, but it is luxurious for the ill. (France spends 10.1% of its GDP on health care compared to 7.7% for the UK.) Quality of care is excellent in France. Prescription drugs are readily available at low cost. You choose your doctor, and it costs only 1 € per visit. Almost all of your medical expenses are reimbursed by the government. And the results are there: life-expectancy in France is 79.4.
I have long expected it would be difficult to readjust to the parlous US health care system. But after looking into it for only two days, I’m already depressed.
The bureaucracy of it all is so boring and irritating. HMO, PPO, HSA—I have no idea what these things are, but I know I better learn quick. I’m worried about high deductibles and loopholes which will mean we are not fully covered. I’m worried that if I end up starting my own small business, I’ll start every month $1,000 in the red to cover health care just for my own family. Even I work for someone else, the cost is enormous—in the five years I have been away, US employee health care costs have more than doubled. And we’re spending 15% of our GDP on this atrocious system—more than any other developed country, and more than we spend on defense, let alone counter-terrorism.
So why isn’t this a major political issue? I know that it’s not a priority for the Republican Party, but where are the newspaper editorials and letters to the editor? Are Howard Dean and Harry Reid talking about health care every day? If so, I’m not hearing about it. Why aren’t people protesting in the streets? Let’s get angry, people! I’m already sick of the health care system and I’m not even back yet. I know I'm not alone.