In a Time of Universal Deceit, Telling the Truth is Revolutionary.
Saturday, July 13, 2024

From the grassroots to poor Americans: Don’t mess with my lawn

In the battle over health care reform one thing has been made clear. A majority of Americans don't want to pay for a public option that will assure quality health care for those who don't have a nice lawn, let alone any lawn at all. Liberal leaning Democrats want to assure that we stitch together one of the largest holes in our social safety net for our least fortunate citizens. Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats seem to believe that if you slip through the health care hole it's because you're too lazy to get a job with insurance or perhaps because you've offended God.


In the battle over health care reform one thing has been made clear. A majority of Americans don’t want to pay for a public option that will assure quality health care for those who don’t have a nice lawn, let alone any lawn at all. Liberal leaning Democrats want to assure that we stitch together one of the largest holes in our social safety net for our least fortunate citizens. Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats seem to believe that if you slip through the health care hole it’s because you’re too lazy to get a job with insurance or perhaps because you’ve offended God.

An anonymous poster wrote this on one of my town’s local blogs. It pretty much summarizes  and all too common belief (emphasis added):
One one end Obama bails out billion dollar corporations and on the other end is the expanded hand outs to those who the moonbats feel were just dealt a bad hand in life. What it really amounts to is buying votes. Guess who will pay for it?
Conscience is defined as an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior. Most people have a conscience that leads them to "do unto others as you’d have others do unto you" when it comes to those who are actually in their lives. 
A large segment of our population has no social conscience. They are represented by those going to the town hall meetings during the congressional recess who are expressing outrage that their taxes may go to pay for the health care of those who, unlike them, don’t already have health insurance.
Where is their inner voice telling them that there’s a rightness and wrongness when it comes to a greater morality than looking out for themselves?
Don’t they know that they are one downsizing layoff in their own jobs from being without health insurance themselves?
The "no new taxes" mantra, often shouted at rallies by God fearing Christians has a very unchristian sub-text. It is "I won’t pay for programs to help those who I don’t think deserve it".

 Clink to enlarge especially to view his one inch fingernails.
Last week I sat eating a delicious pizza on the second floor balcony of Pizzeria Uno at Washington’s beautiful taxpayer renovated Union Station. I looked down and watched this man just below me. I watched dozens of people walking past him as if he was invisible. 

 The three part irony of this photo: a newspaper article about tax breaks, a Union Station bench with a brass plaque saying "thank you for not reclining" and the lunch of the man shown above who would benefit from some professional outreach case management.
I thought that I could easily offer him the last two slices of my pizza, far more nutricious than what he was eating or give him $5.00, but as I documented with pictures in my previous column, "Washington, District of Contrasts", I’d already seen numerous homeless people around our nation’s capital.
I felt guilty even though their plight wasn’t my doing. After all, for my entire life I have voted for candidates that supported progressive social programs.
Do many others feel at least a momentary pang of guilt? I’d like to think so.
I tried to do my bit with my photo essay last week. I’m following it up with this column.
I can only hope some of you will share these columns with friends who might be amenable to rethinking their views not only about assuring health care for all, but making certain that adequate outreach programs are available for people like these American women:

Click to enlarge for full impact.


71 thoughts on “From the grassroots to poor Americans: Don’t mess with my lawn”

  1.  Bogo, funny that you counter my so-called sob stories with two of your own. 

    I belonged to a large clinic based HMO for almost 20 years where we had a limited choice of primary docs and specialists. We always got in that day for urgent care. We had a very short waiting time for lesser problems.

    The times an outside of the HMO specialist was needed there were no problems getting a referral to the top docs in the area. 

    My primary once didn’t agree with one of the HMO surgeons who thought I needed hernia surgery and he sent me to a top surgeon at the MSU med school who said I didn’t even have a hernia.

    My aunt in Hawaii, still alive and kicking at 88, has always been covered under the well known and earliest HMO’s, Kaiser Permanente. She relates similar stories.

    The fact is that there are sob stories but for a middle class person forced into a less than great clinic based HMO to compare his  experiences with those who have to rely on hospital emergency rooms for all health care isn’t really fair.

    I don’t want to risk YOUR life. Not to be disrespectful, but I think that’s hyperbole. In a life threatening situation no matter who you are you will get good service at an emergency room – though around here you may find you need to be transported from the local ER ASAP to a trauma center in Boston.

    We need equal excellent health care for everyone without discrimination. That should be the goal. 

    Republicans not debunking talk of panels deciding who to euthanize is irresponsible. Instead they should be talking about improving the Democrat’s bill instead of trying to destroy it.

  2. Do you want to be one of that small percentage – if it really is small. I didn’t quite view it the same way. Again, my entire point is and will continue to be will we have to have a NICE? No one in lock-step support of anything but change has managed to give an answer.

    Since everyone has “stories” I will relate – again – my experience with a change in health care. Many years ago we switched from a great plan to a cheaper one that was clinic based. Our provider network shrunk and we ended up being locked into who they choose as our PC doctor. Good was our usual pediatrician and specialist. Our nearest “clinic” was in Braintree and that was 30 miles. They also determined what needed to be done. I had an Achilles issue and they allowed me one second opinion and they choose the doctor. Needless to say it was a slam dunk for them. Neither ortho guy had much of a resume. My own out of pocket expenses allowed me to get five other opinions tall concluded I needed the surgery. I had to sue and they relented at that point. Next open enrollment we got back to our old plan. They called the shots and most people would just cave in. I did not. The paper pushers were the ones making the decisions.

    Another story. My son needed stitches and after waiting five hours at our “clinic” we left and went to one of those crowded ER rooms and I paid out of pocket after a short wait.

    You want to risk my life? That is how I view it. You folks can put all the sob stories aside as selfish me is concerned only about myself. I will NEVER risk being placed in the situations I described above. If the government wishes to get a program in place that will provide services similar to what I get go for it but don’t butcher mine for a one size fits all.

  3. Bogofree and Hoosier Cowboy,

    your posts are related. The WSJ article bogo posted a link to describes the way NICE in England rations health care to the detriment of those who want and need certain expensive treatment of value to a small percentage of people or to extend their lives for a relatively brief period of time.

    What isn’t emphasized by the WSJ, whose readers one would presume all have excellent private insurance, is that the tradeoff in the UK is that without a bottomless pit of money they are able to provide almost excellent health care for everybody, rich and poor.

    Cowboy casts a jaundiced eye on how America’s rich already benefit from the largess of government welfare. The poor bas—rds who diligently pay their taxes subsidize the corporate fatcats whose greed led to the current financial crisis. 

    Meanwhile the really really poor pack crowded emergency rooms for routine health care. I’ve seen it a few times in the last years following the ambulance to a local ER (Morton Hospital) for life threatening emergencies with my inlaws.

    Sitting in the waiting rooms were people with various bleeding wounds and broken limbs amongst those with hacking coughs or rushing to the bathroom likely with g-i infections that should have been treated by a family doctor.

  4. “The United States is last or next-to-last compared with five other nations — Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom — on most measures of performance.”
    “On fairness, the United States ranks dead last on almost all measures of equity because we have the greatest disparity in the quality of care given to richer and poorer citizens.”

    Well, that is all true. However, and this is a BIG ONE, those five nations mentioned have SOCIALIST health care programs. Oh, PLEASE spare us from that dreaded SOCIALISM.


    Kent Shaw

  5. The socialist, welfare state doesn’t work. It’s been proven.

    Nonsense, The socialist welfare state has existed in these United States since Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown. It has worked well with the exception of providing cover for the poor b……s that have been paying for it.

    The welfare state for the Rich works very well. Ask them.

    It time to get the people that are paying for it on board as well.

    I’m tired of paying for the welfare of the Rich, and hearing them bitch about how bad it is.

    If its so bad, Rich B……..s give it up.

    Give up your farm subsidies, tax breaks, soft jobs and fat pensions rich people, and give me back my money. Otherwise shut the f..k up.

  6. Perhaps the way to work this out is to first shoot down this proposal, take a deep breath, and start anew. And therein lies the gist of the problem. We either get behind what’s on the table now or do without? That’s not the way it should work.

    Either you’re with us or against us? Sounds all too familiar, and just as damaging.

    This problem has come to be over many decades, and won’t be solved with the magical stroke of a pen. But you must admit that most of the comments here are more about attacking the opponents than any dialogue about what’s best for the common man.

    So in my mind, the first order of business is stopping this legislation, because it is no good. If you deem that to be obstructionsist, then I’ll stand guilty as charged. But by no means have I been obstructing any rational dialogue on the subject, I’m just waiting for someone to offer anything but partisan pablum as an argument for it.

    Although we don’t see eye to eye on almost everything, I welcome your input because at least you offer coherent arguments, for the most part. Of course, like I have been guilty of myself, we allow ourselves to be dragged down in the heat of battle.

    Yes, I guess I would appear to be judgemental at times, but I don’t mean to judge the individual as much as the system that guides us. We need to break through the left-right control scheme and start thinking and acting independently, not just reacting to what the “other” side does.

  7.  Horrors! End up like the Brits?

    Here’s an interesting piece from 2007: World’s best medical care?

    Some excerpted points from the highly regarded Commonwealth Fund:

    The United States is last or next-to-last compared with five other nations — Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom — on most measures of performance.

    On insurance coverage all other major industrialized nations provide universal health coverage, and most of them have comprehensive benefit packages with no cost-sharing by the patients.

    The real barriers here are the costs facing low-income people without insurance or with skimpy coverage. But even Americans with above-average incomes find it more difficult than their counterparts abroad to get care on nights or weekends without going to an emergency room

    On fairness, the United States ranks dead last on almost all measures of equity because we have the greatest disparity in the quality of care given to richer and poorer citizens. Americans with below-average incomes are much less likely than their counterparts in other industrialized nations to see a doctor when sick, to fill prescriptions or to get needed tests and follow-up care.

  8. Interesting. I suggested that the question should be how we can work health care for all and your response was that it “needs to be shot down.”

    How does that help answer the question of how to do it? By saying, No, we should not do it at all. Certainly that’s an approach to the problem, but it’d be nice to see some reasoned argument and facts behind it.

    As to personal attacks and blind partisan division, I didn’t see anything as snide as the nasty little dig:


    I asked a series of questions, and you say there’s “no discussion here.” At Mr. Thompson’s direct request to me, I am trying to remain civil, but I will point out that you are being, in my opinion, obstructionist to any form of discussion. That’s your prerogative, of course, but to attempt to so categorize my series of questions on the health care debate is, at best, dissembling.

    If you do not like my posts you are free to ignore them, just as you are free to criticize them, though it would be nice if you tried to be a bit less judgmental. Others, though, may not feel that way and to castigate them for entering into a dialog is not helpful in the least.

  9. You mean like the kind of reply you made to my first comment? Sometimes sarcasm is all you got left in the tank, particularly when addressing an issue that has many causes and effects, but is construed as a simple matter of people not caring or being selfish.

  10.  Kent,

    No need to apologize for expressing yourself as you did. 

    Already some private insurers, hospitals, clinics, doctors and individuals are defrauding Medicare, often incurring very large fines for doing so.

    Here are a few examples:

    July 29, 2009 – Federal authorities arrested 30 people, including doctors, and were seeking others in a major Medicare fraud (arrest) Wednesday in New York, Louisiana, Boston and Houston, targeting scams such as "arthritis kits" — expensive braces that many patients never used. CBS News story

    Here’s another one, 53 indicted, in June.

    Here’s an article about Wellcare being fined $10 million for Medicare fraud.

    Any government health program needs to have oversight to deal with corruption.

    From all I have heard Canada has a health care system that is well run.



  11.  I wasn’t chastising bogofree for DOING charity work, I just said I thought it unseemly to tout one’s own charity contributions or work. 

    I think whether or not I gave pizza or money to this particular person is adding a red herring to the debate.

    Healthy guilt, whether individual or collective, (as opposed to pathological guilt) by the way, should be felt by more people. I wouldn’t be sarcastic about it.

    Griff,  you and a few others add a lot to the comments section of my columns and obviously put a great deal of thought into the formulation of cogent arguments.

    When they throw in a ad hominem bits of sarcasm directed towards me my first inclination is to ignore the comments. 

  12. After a while I thought of a few more points to add to my previous response, but it seems you’re kickin’ around tonight and had already replied.

    I just got back from KRock-A-Thon 14, an all-day concert, and should be tired. Some interesting commentary between songs by some of the bands. Musicians seem to have a pretty good grasp on who’s robbing who.

    I can definitley see your point. Our debt is so astronomical, what’s another trillion or two amongst friends? I wonder quite often why I bother at all. It’s getting pretty crazy, although I knew it would.

    What we should be doing right now is pushing through HR 1207 and its companion bill in the senate, S.604. Both are being blocked aggressively and HR 1207 needs only a few more cosponsors for two thirds of the house (last I checked there were over 90 Democrat cosponsors – bipartisanship, anyone?) and will force a vote.

    In my opinion, all else is irrevelant if our currency is worthless, particularly when we carry such a high trade deficit. The integrity of the currency must be restored and maintained in the light of day.

    But instead, we’re at each other’s throats over a trillion dollar boondoggle in healthcare “reform”. Not even getting into the actual bill, where will this money come from?

    We’re staring at a two trillion dollar deficit for this year alone and an overall deficit of almost twelve trillion dollars. Our other as-yet-to-be-funded liabilities total over sixty trillion.

    If I remember correctly, our tax revenues (private and corporate) total around 1.5 trillion, and we lost another 371 thousand taxpayers last month.

    We’ll have to borrow or print it. Either way the value of the dollar will slide, and prices will rise.

    Thanks for the nice words. Don’t get that often – ha!

  13. Thanks Griff for the reply and I agree with you more than 100%.

    Our entire paradigm is going to fail no differently than empires and governments long since swallowed by the sands of time.

    This nation is going to fail, not if, but simply when, and I feel we’re now in the sweep hand mode to midnight.

    We might as well pitch whatever bread; ie.,$$ to mend the tissues and abate the pain of our fellow men, women and children regardless of the cost because in the end…”we are all dead”…our collective lives nothing but a fireflies wink in the cosmic night!

    Btw, I just wanted to add, that I “always” enjoy your comments supported by a keen intellect. : )

    Carl Nemo **==

  14. Yeah I read that. The above comment was directed at Gazelle, though.

    I would have to disagree with the tax though, and here’s why…

    Our economy is sinking. The dwindling working class simply cannot pay more taxes at this point. The point I tried to make earlier is that we have other priorities in righting the economy.

    We need to get people working again. Without fixing the economy, everyone loses. Unfortunately the poor are hit first, and they are hit the hardest.

    A prosperous people are a generous people. We were before, and we could be again. But not when everyone’s worried about themselves. That may seem selfish or mean to our friends on the left, but that’s simply the way it is.

    I certainly won’t make any apologies for taking care of my family first, and I certainly won’t agree to more taxes to help the poor, particularly when the government has proven themselves incapable of doing it with the taxes we already pay.

    Right now all of our tax revenues isn’t enough to pay the interest on our national debt, much less put any kind of dent in our deficit. Couple that with a proposed budget that is more than twice our tax receipts. Where are we going with that?

    That debt comes mainly from two places – we spend more than we make, and we pay interest on every dollar the Federal Reserve prints. Of course, we also have a trade deficit and we’ve been borrowing from any and everybody.

    One way to help the poor – and everyone else too – would be to take back control of our currency and end inflationary monetary policy. The rich don’t care if the price of bread rises ten or twenty cents due to inflation, but it hurts the poor the most.

    I saw a bumper sticker the other day that pretty succinctly sums it up…Socialism: A great idea until you run out of other people’s money.

    And then there’s this one by George Bernard Shaw…”A socialist is somebody who doesn’t have anything, and is ready to divide it up equally among everybody.”

  15. That’s it Hal, chastise someone else for actually doing charity work or donating when you couldn’t part with a slice of pizza. But of course, you did feel that pang of guilt, so job well done!

  16. Hi Griff,

    I was post #14 to this string and I simply suggested another block to be added to an employee’s pay stub; ie., a “Medical Care Tax” for the greater unwashed masses. No attacks, no partisan opposition, just a pragmatic suggestion to solve a distasteful situation. Those that don’t have care of any kind can go to clinics and hospitals no differently than they do now to buy food with stamps/cards etc. at both state and federal expense.

    Yep, it’s another tax, but look at this as simply a stalling action that provides protection from the potentially rioting masses that cannot enjoy medical care in this country and have had a bellyful of being deprived of such care.

    It won’t be a flagship plan, but at least they can shuffle into an urgency, emergency clinic/hospital and also know they’ll have some measure of coverage for extended medical care by flipping their government sanctioned card to the clinicians.

    I’m more than willing to pay for such systemic protection rather than have everything overturned by blood in the streets which is where this nation is headed if this fundamental need for basic medical care isn’t met.

    If this isn’t addressed then the least of those that do enjoy such care will find that in the end they shall lose too, quite possibly with their lives!

    Yep, it’s blatant socialism, but it seems that even the strongest ideologue in these times cannot hold back the tide of change when it comes to an ever-burgeoning world and domestic population.

    The following link provides food for both thought and concern for us all as the world and this nation moves towards a Malthusian event horizon…

    Carl Nemo **==

  17. I know, I know. And I apologize for the rude language. It just makes me so angry, all of it. It does not have to be the way it is, but for all the greed and lust for power in all quarters. I don’t have any answers. I’m all for a government-run Medicare For All, but at the same time I know the government would just botch it, and corruption would run rampant. Its all spinning out of control.

    Kent Shaw

  18.  Kent,

    In case you missed my link to how much the CEOs of the major health insurance companies made last year, here’s another list (link).

    Okay, I’m not sure you got all you (justified) anger out, so I thought I’d share this… so with finger poised over Cap Lock…. don’t you think the CEO of Aetna deserves his $24 million?

    I mean, Kent, his company had over $31 billion in revenues last year (as per the Aetna website here). A paltry $24 million is a drop in the bucket to these people.

  19. It’s a very sad fact that, due to the pertinent points made by all those above, the lower middle class has been ground down so much that people who have a BA degree are having to say “Would you like fries with that?” As a song from WW1 said, ” The rich get richer, and the poor get children.”
    As I said before, the class differences are so wide that it is ridiculous.


  20. “Easy to spend, spend, spend when it is someone else’s dough.”

    I agree wholeheartedly. Hence, we have Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Vietnam, Korea, and on and on. Oh, I’m sorry. Were we talking about health care insurance for all? Yes. Its going to be hard to find the money and the skilled management. Maybe we could assign the project to the military. They seem to be just SO effective.

    Kent Shaw

  21. I’ll tell you what’s wrong with “health care” in America. $324 to have ONE god-damned tooth pulled, that’s what. Extrapolate from there. Fucking greed heads, which is by now just about everyone in the USA.

    Why does it cost $90/hour to get my car fixed when the mechanic doing the actual labor gets $12.50? GREED.

    $100 a month for cable TV? Screw that. Greedy bastards. How much to they pay their employees? Maybe a buck an hour over minimum wage.

    $4/pound for fucking green peppers? How much did the farmer get for those peppers? It ain’t the farmers, but there are some pretty greedy bastards in the marketing chain. The damn farmer didn’t even get a
    buck a pound.


    Welcome to AmeriKa, where the powerless get fucked and the powerful become more so every day.

    I have the solution. It involves piano wire and lamp posts. Eliminate ALL salaries over $500K a year and I’m being GENEROUS here, and the GREED HEAD PROBLEM is a long way toward solution. Eliminate HOW? VOLUNTARILY! Or there is the piano wire and lamp post option. See that dentist swinging from the lamp post? That’s the last $324 extraction THAT bastard will ever perform.

    Can’t afford to establish that EVIL SOCIALIST (OOOOOHHHH he said SOCIALIST — OOOOOOHHHHHH) health care for all at taxpayer expense program? BULLSHIT BULLSHIT BULLSHIT! What you can’t afford is that god-damned TRILLION DOLLAR A YEAR MILITARY and all those god-damned needless and useless wars.

    For those of you who fear the very word “SOCIALIST” you can just go fuck yourselves.


    Are we all in this thing called LIFE together or is it to be every man for himself. You every man for himself folks? Don’t ever darken MY DOOR looking for a handout after you just lost your fucking useless slave wage job. You are a RUGGED INDIVIDUAL. NO GOD-DAMNED HANDOUTS FOR YOU, BY GOD. YOU MAKE IT ON YOUR OWN. Get the hell away from my door you rugged individual. I have no time for you. You are a survivalist, taking and needing nothing from anyone. WELL. NOW SURVIVE, ASSHOLE. YOU DON’T NEED NO FUCKING GOVERNMENT HANDOUTS. GO DIVE IN A DUMPSTER FOR ALL I GIVE A SHIT.

    Kent Shaw
    Kent Shaw

  22. I’d suggest Chick that you examine my post with greater care…such as the following excerpt. Reapeatedly used the term liberal since it was applicable in this thread. I am an equal opportunity basher!

    “That was there since I am fed up to my eyeballs with value judgements made by liberals and conservatives and it this case my ire is directed to my left.”

  23. It says something bad about our national psyche that we are not saying, “How can we do this (provide health care for all who need it)?” Instead we are hearing, “How can we stop this from happening?”

    News Flash!!! The Democrats have offered their solution as to how to do this. It is not a good one and needs top be shot down.

    Look at all the comments about this. There’s no discussion here, just personal attacks and blind partisan division.

    News Flash!!! The Republicans are being shouted down in town halls too. You just don’t see it on TV because the perception of partisan division needs to be maintained in order to herd the sheep and actually stifle any real debate.

    Case in point. Anything constructive being discussed here? You’re just as guilty as the other side.

  24. I really hate to say this, because in some ways he was a nut job, but Periot said it best when he said “that whistling sound you hear are American jobs going out the window” (Paraphrasing a little bit here)
    When companies are allowed to outsource most of their jobs, the only thing you will see is that their executives get fatter bank accounts in the Cayman islands, or wherever Uncle Sam can’t tax it. Ten miillion dollar bonuses! What was that factoid? The President of Ford gets ten million per year, before outrageous bonuses, while the President of Toyota gets about one million? “But we have to pay them these outrageous salaries to keep the best people” BS!! Meanwhile, the lower classes, who could have made a decent living from those jobs, and afforded health care? They are simply ground deeper into the dust of what has become an “I’ve got mine, to Hell with you” America. It’s pathetic.


  25. While socialist care and socialism and communism and all the other isms have failed miserably world wide, that is not what all this is really about ,have you in your lifetimes known of a politician who actually did what they touted with the money they took from you???It is all about widening the gap between us the middle and lower class working stiffs and them the greedy rich bankers and the politicians they for health care it will go down the tubes under govt control and they will never say they have enough money!!!I will shout it as long as I can that there is no real 2 party system.That is just a sham to keep us from watching what they are really doing.Diversions are wonderful things when cooked properly!

  26. EileensHoot

    Thanks for your kind words Hal,

    I am sure your friends have told you about Canada’s Health Plan. Every citizen is covered for all medical and drug needs…from birth till death. No one is turned away from our Hospitals…and are given the best of care…with no charge.
    And no…we DO NOT have longer wait times for health services than USA citizens have in their health needs in the USA.

    As I listen to some of your USA hate machines like Rush, Hannity, Beck and Dobbs …and some Republicans about Canada’s Health Plan and how rotten it is. I shake my head at their low down ignorance.

    As a former RN who returned to University { after the down turn left many nurses without jobs } for my BA in Social work…I am very on top of health issues…and that is why my heart is heavy for ALL USA citizens in need of a Health Plan.

    Hal, I also live in a small Border town..Sault Ste. Marie Ontario. Much of my nursing, SW was done across our Bridge in Sault Michigan. I also spend a great number of hours monthly across the Bridge in Volunteer work. My USA friends also volunteer in my city. We work in harmony and respect each other and the need of all clients regardless of what side of the Bridge they live on.


  27. Well, bogofree, I consider myself a moderate, though I have opinions that some would consider conservative, or liberal. I doubt anyone could be simply one or the other. If they are, they would probably be considered extremists.

    That said, I seldom see anyone that is actually “moderate” repeatedly use the term “liberal” when discussing or addressing others, unless they are far to the right.

    Perhaps you aren’t as moderate as you’d like to think?

  28.  First, it should be DYED in the wool. 

    I don’t understand your first paragraph at all. Maybe I’m just thick or it’s the glass of merlot I’m drinking. Liberals knowing zip about… huh? The liberals I’m acquainted with know more than zip about lots of kind of people. I never heard the expression alligator arms, which though short, sure can propel them rapidly on land.

    It seems quite socially acceptable for people to reveal how much they contribute to charity. Politicians do it all the time and as you know there is (or was) a wall at the Y with a list of the corporate and individual donors and which donation group they belonged to. 

    I’m not fed up with my own value judgments, in fact I rather enjoy them, but admit that I am fed up with the value judgments of those I disagree with. There, I said it. I know saint that you are you don’t make value judgments….

    Yes, the national system is screwed up and even if this bill has flaws I think they can be remedied later a lot easier and without the damage than has been the case with the Patriot Act. I am glad that Massachusetts has their own health care reform law but I still want to see that public option nationally. I see that as a crucial part of the bill because even with glitches it will show what a program that doesn’t have to make a profit for shareholders can do.

    For regulars wondering why I am tweaking bogofree like this,  I know him. That is why our exchanges have a certain je ne sais quoi to them.

  29.  bogo, it sounds like you have a plan similar to the one members of Congress have…

    Eileen, great to have a Canadian perspective. We have Canadian friends who say the same thing.

    To hear some of the right wingers on talk radio you’d think instead of flying the Maple Leaf your flag has a hammer and sickle, or as some succumb to Godwin’s Law which now seems to rule Rush Limbaugh and some of the protesters, the swastika.

  30. One issue of importance is the excessive amount of tests to protect from litigation. Just went through this and my insurance (GIC – Uni Care) covers a test that cost several thousands and under most policies I’d have the scaled down one. IMO the test was not that necessary but the primary care wanted to rule out a condition. I.E. cover his arse in case that was really – and it was quite remote – the real problem. Now if the problem did exist the scaled down one may not have found it.

  31. EileensHoot

    As a Canuck {Canadian},I feel deeply for USA citizen’s…many of them are relatives of mine.

    A country as beautiful and as rich as USA..should have a decent and proper Health Plan…for ALL its citizens.

    As I read / watch the news…I am disgusted with the Republican Party / and the Blue Dogs for their lack of knowledge, empathy and don’t care attitude towards their fellow man. They are a complete nasty and cold blooded bunch of people. You..the USA citizens have provided those people with the best of wages, pensions and terrific Health Plan. Your taxes provide them very well.

    President Obama has seen this side of life, and knows how it affects those people not covered…and he is fighting for the rights of ALL citizens.


  32. Checkerboard, thanks for adding this. The reason private health care industries exist, and the reason they have become a multi-billion dollar industry, is that they have designed a system to avoid paying for the sickest patients.

    Even if you aren’t very sick you can see example of how they put profits first.

    For example, try getting them to pay for the brand name medication your doctor wants you to take because it has less side effects than a similar generic. As far as the insurance industry is concerned, if the side effects won’t kill you put up with them… and this is just a minor example of ways the insurance companies cut their costs at the patient’s expense.


  33. Oh for God’s sake people, this isn’t even entirely about homeless folks who need medical care.
    Truly, stop and think very carefully for a moment!
    The overwhelming majority of people getting sick or dying are people who WORK, who have JOBS and who HAVE INSURANCE!

    The problem is, the moment they try to USE their insurance, they get dropped or they get told that their policy won’t cover their treatment, and this is AFTER they’ve PAID!

    Yes, there are numerous poor, destitute and even homeless who would also benefit, but the truth is, in addition to that small number of folks in society there is a HUGE number of people who have done the right thing and are STILL being penalized.
    Many of them had a pretty good station in life prior to getting sick, many had jobs and had homes prior to getting denied, and still more of them are now DEAD or soon to be.

    Focus, maintain focus and perspective on the entire problem, please.
    Our health care system is sick, it’s top heavy, it’s slanted to those of extreme wealth and it is clear cutting the entire middle class, as well as those who have nothing at all.

    In the end the system we now have will become totally unsustainable, and we will be seeing health care corporations asking for a bailout.
    And this will be AFTER the current reform effort FAILS.

    If you don’t see that, you’re part of the problem.

  34. I put that out there Hal because I am totally pissed off with the attempt by liberals to make their own blanket statements about those who they know zip about. Easy to spend, spend, spend when it is someone else’s dough. Seems like too many of them have alligator arms when it comes to their own wallet.

    As far as self congradulatory that is rare when I make any pronouncement on what I do but in this case it was appropriate and on target. Wonder how many liberals can match up with this moderate on that? That was there since I am fed up to my eyeballs with value judgements made by liberals and conservatives and it this case my ire is directed to my left.

    As far as screaming it goes beyond “Died in the wool Republicans” and that is showing in the health care issue. Blue Dogs are seeing the folly in this just as a good portion of the population is. The system is screwed up and virtually everyone agrees on that. But the government? Yeah…they’ll fix it! IMO what they scream about is management and results.

    Now, the program I have no problem with is the Connector in Massachusetts. It has shown its value in the current depression and has provided insurance for something like 98% of the population. Far from perfect but from humble beginnings.

  35. Here it is in a nutshell. I have zero problems with supplying a safety net but I have a huge problem with providing a multi generational alternative life style.

    Just how successful has various government programs been? Take a look at those pictures to get your answer.

    How is that War on Poverty thing working out?

    The government can mandate all they want but when the get into management just forget it.

    And now what is the solution? As usual it is to toss money at a problem and try to instill guilt. That is total hogwash and demeans any debate.

    And, Hal, as far as empathy, compassion and on and on last year I contributed 10% of my income to charity. How did you do? How many that are willing to toss good money after bad in the state of Massachusetts opt to paying the higher state tax? Do you, Hal?

    And, Hal, I volunteer for Habitait for Humanity. I provide meals via a local church and I occasionally do duty at a food bank. So when you make a blanket statement regarding people that don’t agree with this latest boondoggle do some freaking research! Our comapssion may go well beyond a camera lense.

  36. Personally I find it unseemly and self-congratulatory when people tell others about how much they give to charity or where they do volunteer work.

    I’m sorry for blanket statements. There are usually exceptions to all my characterizations. 

    There are many died in the wool Republicans who scream bloody murder about their tax dollars helping the disenfranchised and poor through social programs and then turn around and donate their money and time to do just that on a smaller scale.

    As for the war on poverty, Johnson started it in 1964 as part of his "great society" and Reagan pretty much demolished it in 1981. It was never meant to be a short term solution. You can’t break a cycle of poverty that passes from generation to generation in 17 years. We’ll never know how it would have worked out if the corruption, waste and inefficiency was eliminated and it had 20-30 years to mature.

    Let’s not forget that Head Start, Medicare and Medicaid were also parts of Johnson’s social legacy


  37. The problem with “should be a no brainer” Hal is that truth comes in a plain brown wrapper and logic does not sell while hyperbole rules the day.

  38. To the term NIMBY we shall now add NOOMBP (not out of MY back pocket.)

    It says something bad about our national psyche that we are not saying, “How can we do this (provide health care for all who need it)?” Instead we are hearing, “How can we stop this from happening?”

    Why have we ceased to be a nation which cares about and for each of our neighbors? When did we become a nation where we can hear prideful boasts that a person who considers himself to be a human being has refused to help another human being in need?

    Someone above said, “You have to recognize that some (homeless, unemployed, or other needy) need more help than you or I could provide and can be dangerous as any unknown trigger could set them off.”

    So do we look at that person and say, “Screw you, Charlie, I’ve got mine and I am not going to part with one thin dime for you?” When problems become too much for individuals or small groups to handle, do not those problems become something which should be addressed at some governmental level? Or is the government going to say to its poorer citizens, “Screw you, Charlie, etc.” Or do these people cease to be problems because we close our eyes and turn away from them in their time of need?

    Above it was said ” . . .when it comes to homelessness. Lots of mentally ill and drug/alcohol addicted folks.”

    That may well be true, but how many foreclosures have occurred in the US since this recession began? Where did the people displaced from their homes go? How many of those who are homeless are NOT mentally ill or addicts? How many of them are single mothers living in their cars with two or three little kids? And on top of that why should we say that the mentally ill and the chemically addicted are not worthy of some assistance?

  39. Are the Blue Dogs and Republicans really concerned about a “government take-over” or the million$ flowing into their campaigns from the insurance and hospital industries ? And for the Democrats, how will how recent proposals correct healthcare’s underlying problems – inefficient distribution of services, poor quality control, and a profit driven industry dominated by self interest entrepreneurs and middlemen. The system is awash in money and dysfunctional private insurance that adds billions in overhead yet contributes zero value to actual care – a glaring inefficiency that free market manufacturing operations would immediately weed out. And there are no discussions of how modern efficient non-profit clinic models can be expanded, only how campaign contributors will be protected – profit driven insurers and medical businesses. What IS crystal clear – we can no longer tolerate exclusive business contracts between profit center “providers” (formally doctors and hospitals), grossly inflated pharmaceuticals, an artificially constricted supply of family practitioners, policy agendas written by campaign contributors, and revolving door regulators – and simply frame discussions in terms of “more coverage” and voodoo “socialism”. Otherwise, despite all the hoopla, vastly expanded private insurance and unlimited taxpayer funding, American healthcare will continue to rank 43rd in performance, and No. 1 in cost.

  40. You offer a laundry list of assumptions and then, in the last paragraph, they magically morph into facts.

    The People have the right to organize politically, both in support or opposition. But the enormous amount of propaganda, the lies and misinformation from both sides, the collective vilification of any and all opposition, the complete distraction from what this – or any – legislation really says or means, really has me questioning our collective sanity and our collective goodwill.

    I oppose it. It’s not because I’m a Republican, nor do I work for the government or any other prospective beneficiary of the legislation. It’s because I’ve read it. I don’t like it on many levels, and I will exercise my right to speak out against it. I’m motivated by research and knowledge of the subject, not party loyalty or media hysteria.

    And for all it’s worth, I’ll tell you why.

    As a troubleshooter you learn early that you don’t simply make massive, costly changes all at once. Particularly when the customer (us) is footing the bill. You make one minor change and you analyze the results. If that change fails to fix it, you first undo that change and then try something else.

    You also refer to history. You try to find out when things went bad and what, if any, changes were made prior to the failure. You try to ascertain if that change produced or helped to produce the failure. You may want to undo that as well.

    Most times you’ll find that the government, as well meaning as they may be, screwed it up in the first place. We need to look back and analyze these changes, and possibly undo them. But instead, we’re led to believe that the next expansion of government will solve the problem. And when that doesn’t fix it, we need the government to get more involved. And on and on…

    This is not only a massive and costly change, but an extremely detrimental one as well. What I believe we need to do is make minor changes, based on the history of the problem and honest, independent evaluation (an impossible dream in this political climate), not corporate propaganda and lockstep partisanship.

    And if that doesn’t work, we undo the change and try something different, we don’t compound it by ignoring history and failing to analyze the cause of the failure. Making abrupt, wholesale changes doesn’t afford us the opportunity to discern what works and what doesn’t.

    We do none of this. We’re whipped into a frenzy by party and media and rush headlong into whatever they say we need.

    “Let me now…warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party…It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeebles the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one party against another; foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption…A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.” – George Washington in his farewell address, 1796

  41.  The primary propaganda message the special interests that benefit so greatly from the exclusive private heath care system would have you believe is that the proposed government option will take something away from you.

    Follow the money INDEED — it should be a no brainer that the private health care industry where companies spend millions competing with each other doesn’t want another player in the field that may be able to provide equal coverage at less cost.

    Another "should be a no brainer" is that a government program won’t need to make shareholders happy with large profits. How many of you remember when the previously non-profit Blue Cross went public? It was back in 1994 (see article).

    Let’s also not forget the multi-million dollar compensation given to the CEOs of private health insurance companies. Here’s a list. And that’s just the top executives. 

    I assume that a government heath care program will be run by executives whose salaries are in the $200,000 range.

    So facing these facts the propaganda machine wants to convince you that having a government option will cost you more, limit your choices and somehow or other lessen the quality of care you receive.

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