June 25th 2009 - Thursday

healthcare-imagesOur Comment line - Concerns? Suggestions? Kudos? - 202-536-5306

Hour One: Michael Tanner www.cato.org  and Thom debate  COOP vs Public Option

Hour Two: Wendell Potter www.prwatch.org   Health Insurance Insider: 'They Dump the Sick'-Retired Health Insurance Executive Blows the Whistle

Hour Three: "$106 billion for war...where is MoveOn?" Political activist/author Tom Hayden joins Thom www.tomhayden.com


Making Progress (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago


I would like to hear Thom's take on The Obama Deception movie, if he has seen it. The way it's presented is really hokie. Nevertheless, conspiracy or no conspiracy, there is a ruling wealthy elite who control the US and this movie attempts to explain how Obama is also a puppet of the same wealthy people who have always been in control. The people out front might change, but the ones pulling the strings have not. Which is why nothing will change until we have publicly funded elections, and nationalize the Federal Reserve. Anyway, the movie keeps talking about the ruling elite's desire for a "New World Order" and I'm not sure what that is.

DRichards (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

May 5, 2009

Dear Friend:

Thank you for contacting me to express your concern about the outlining advanced interrogation procedures and sharing with me the GWU production. I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts on this matter with me.

I am deeply concerned about the recent disclosure of interrogation methods. Three former directors of the Central Intelligence Agency as well as the current director, Leon Panetta, all opposed this action. Former Director Hayden, who also served as Director of National Intelligence, warned that making these documents public would make it more difficult to get useful information from captured terrorists in the future. Hayden also claimed that enhanced interrogation techniques used against terrorist provided critical information and ultimately made us safer.

Like you, I abhor torture and other human rights violations, and I have always been in favor of establishing proper prisoner interrogation standards that do not violate our nation's moral and ethical sensibilities. Yet standards must allow for the collection of valuable intelligence from those who seek to harm and kill Americans.

This current administration may not endorse the interrogation tactics of the previous one, but so long as formal guidelines approved by military and civilian leaders were followed and a bipartisan group of Members of Congress were informed, as they were in these cases, I see no reason to pursue any criminal action. To invest significant time and efforts into past interrogation methods is unhelpful and in no way helps keep our country safe in the future.
As always, if I may be of assistance to you on this, or any other issue, please feel free to contact me in my Washington DC office at (202) 225-6365 or online at www.house.gov/forbes. With kind personal regards, I am

Yours truly,

Member of Congress

Michael Gregory (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

Did anyone else notice how Charlie Gibson was framing the debate around a 'public option' on ABC's 'conversation' with Obama last night? Before going to break he brings up 'public option', and then says "a government run plan is making a lot of Americans very nervous". He could just as easily have said, "a lot of Americans are hoping for some sort of public option insurance plan to come out of this reform". At least he would have been more accurate to do so, according to ABC's own poll (with the Washington Post) the majority of American's are in favor of this type of reform.

I also want to thank all the Health Care for America Now supporters lobbying on the Hill today. I wish I could have made it, but unfortunately I can't take off work on such short notice - if I loose my job, I loose my health coverage. I will be calling my representatives, however, letting them know I'm with you guys in spirit.

Loretta Long (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

Hi everyone,

Does anyone know of a website where public option/single payer protests across the country are being listed? It would be great if we had a central website just for protests on this issue. Or could you create a separate section on your site for this Thom? This is going to be one hell of a fight, and many of our lives depend on it.

If there isn't one, does anyone have the skills to create one? I will help, but I'm not a web wiz. I would most definitely volunteer to report on protests in the Portland, Oregon area, though.

Are there any protests going on in Portland, Oregon today?

Thank you, Loretta

Ben (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago


I am in the U.S. military, and, as you are aware, we use a form of socialized medicine. While I am in complete support of a single payer system or at least a public option, I wanted to let you know about my experiences with socialized medicine in our own country.

What Bernie has been saying about "the devil is in the details" is absolutely correct; for a number of reasons. Until recently, as a pilot in the armed forces of the US, my primary care physician was a doctor who had completed only one year of residency. This is commonplace for flying squadrons. In fact, two of the three primary care doctors I have had were NOT board certified physicians. Nor did they have an 'attending' that they could go to with questions. Obviously this should raise an eyebrow. That having been said, I do feel that I received an appropriate level of care, but I would hesitate to send my wife to a military doctor.
Because these Doctors don't have to complete residency right away, it seems that there is little incentive for them to stay in the books (most of the doctors I am speaking of will eventually enter into a residency program either in the military or outside, but not before being the primary care physician for several hundred people).
There is also no monetary incentive for them to be successful. Because they are military officers, they get paid basically what other military officers get paid, and can only get a pay increase by getting promoted (which as a junior officer is more a function of time in service than merit).
My worst experience with military medicine has been on the dental side. I am not sure what training military dentists undergo, but they seem to be understaffed and over-worked. It is very difficult to get a dentists appointment unless you are about to deploy (deploying troops, for obvious reasons, are the primary concern. I once went 2 years between cleanings because on my yearly check-up, the dentist told me that my teeth were "clean enough" and didn't need it...I don't think that would happen in the civilian world. I also have a habit of grinding my teeth at night. The dentist refused to give me a night guard on the basis that 'he didn't think that I would use it every night'. As an officer, I was able to complain enough to eventually get a night guard, but junior troops would probably not have been as fortunate.

Again, I am in full favor of some kind of nationalized health care system but we need to make sure that American doctors continue to be the best in the world...and get compensated appropriately. The drug and insurance companies that have hijacked America need to be taken down a notch. While I realize that the military does employ some of the best trauma surgeons in the world, I don't think that America as a whole wants the same treatment that the "average joe" in the military gets.

Yellowbird (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago


The Senate Health Cmte. met for the seventh day to continue its work on a bill to overhaul health care – it’s final meeting ahead of the Fourth of July recess. The panel discussed cost, fraud, abuse issues and debated an amendment on drug re-importation. The committee will continue its debate on a bill to overhaul the U.S. health care system after Congress returns on July 7.

DRichards (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago
B Roll (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago


As soon as you said that the Supreme Court voted 8 to 1 against the legality of stip searching a teenage girl, I guessed that the dissenting vote was Clarence Thomas and my guess had nothing to do with pornography.

I believe Thomas has a pattern of voting with the most extreme right members of the court, but when a vote goes 8 to 1, Thomas is almost always the lone dissenter and his vote is usually upholding the rights of the powerful and privileged. My guess was just an instant case of pattern recognition.

Loretta Long (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

Hightower's webmaster sent me to Progressive Democrats which is listing many health care protest events across the country. Perhaps we should all try to spread the word so we can get more cities across the country to list with them, too, inspiring more protests.


Here's a healthcare protest in Portland, Oregon today.

Ron Wyden's Office

When Thursday, June 25, 2009
12 PM - 1 PM

Where Federal Building, Portland, OR
1220 SW 3rd Ave.
Portland, OR
See Map

I hope to see you there,

Kai Wen (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

The reason that conservatives wanted Obama to say something about Iran is because they want Obama to fail.
The reason the media continuously shows the Iranian situation is so that they don't have to talk about the news that affects us, like the health care debate.
We have a framing problem. The conservatives are framing the health care debate in terms of the costs. We need to frame it in terms of the savings.
Are the health insurance companies allowed to fix their prices? It seems to me that they collectively have a monopoly.

Joe (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

Regarding Charlie Gibson's comment referenced above that "a government run plan is making a lot of Americans very nervous", does Charlie think that on the eve of their 65th birthdays, Americans sit in fear that their health insurance is about to switch over to Medicare? What is this nonsense? Does the right wing really think that Americans are dumb enough to fall for this "be afraid, be very afraid" stuff?

Quark (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago


VERY interesting article in the latest Newsweek (6-29-09):

"Reagan was wrong - to conservative Cassandra Henry Fairlie, Republicans sowed their present-day destruction from the start"

I tried to find a link online, but it doesn't seem to be posted yet. Here are a couple of excerpts from the magazine:

'Henry Fairlie had been called "the most controversial political journalist in the British press --- including his most celebrated one, in which he coined the term "the establishment." After his 1966 move to the United States, he would write some of the liveliest and most provocative essays of his time about ... "the American scene." '

'Fairlie's critique of American conservatism began with a GOP heresy: that by embracing the free market so completely, the party had gone calamitously awry. "The conservative can all too easily drift into a morally bankrupt and intellectually shallow defense of those who have it made and who are on the make," he wrote. Without a humanizing tory influence, conservatives were apt to forget "the ugly face of capitalism" --- the way that the market tends to coarsen and destabilize society, making the gross national product fodder for our "gross national appetite." Republicans, he argued, could never succeed in uniting the country as long as they supported business interests so completely with both their policy choices and their rhetoric: "The nation cannot be brought to you, as if it were Masterpiece Theatre, by a grant from Mobil Oil," he wrote.'

Mahatma Kane Jeeves (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

I was wondering if anyone else has heard the new meme by carbon industry defenders that imposing a cost on carbon emissions won't improve CO2 emissions because "the PC wasn't developed because of a tax on typewriters" and "the internet wasn't developed because of a tax on telegraphs".

Yesterday there was an NPR segment interviewing someone from the Breakthrough Institute who popped off these seemingly reasonable-sounding, but fallacious arguments. I suspect that we will be hearing them repeated a lot in coming days.

DRichards (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

Re: Gays are a threat to marriage
I believe it was George Lakoff who explained that the threat was that the male would no longer be in charge (as stated in the Bible; the woman is to be sub-servant to the man). How can a male be in charge if the couple are both male, or both female?

John (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

This doesn't have anything to do with today's show, but i just wanted to post this link to Green960 in San Francisco that shows all of the support for Thom after they removed him from his live time slot and cut him to two hours.


Nearly all of the posts are by people who are blown away that they made the programming change. I am among those who are upset by this change, and i wanted Thom to know there are so many people pulling for him to get his slot back.


Quark (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago


Here's a website with basic health care advocacy info. It's a place to start.


I called Bernie Sanders' office and talked with a staffer. He said he wishes he did know of such a website or national clearing house for such advocacy info., but wishes he did...

Quark (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago


OOPS! 'Meant to say Sanders staffer did NOT know of such a website, but wishes he did!

Phil_in_CA (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

I am a disabled teacher nearing retirement who is facing not being able to afford health insurance after I stop working and my health benefit from my teaching job is gone! I think it is going to cost me as much as HALF of my take-home pay for insurance when I retire. Without help, how will I pay for medications or doctor visits?

After giving almost 20 years to the education of this country's youth, I am going to fall between the cracks and end up on the street because some CEO or high level manager has to make her/his MILLIONS/BILLIONS???

How far down will corporations be allowed to shove us before folks in congress take care of "We The People"??? I am sick and tired of corporations getting all the breaks while the rest of us (those whose work created all that wealth to begin with) get kicked in the teeth?

I almost forgot to mention that if my health benefit gets taxed, then I will have to pay about $4,000 more in taxes until I retire. For what, may I ask?

Mahatma Kane Jeeves (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

I'm fortunate enough to have a great plan through my work. Last year it had a $500 deductible and the premium was covered by my employer.

This year premiums went up 40%. We had to switch to a plan with a $1000 deductible but still paid for by my employer. But the new plan doesn't include any general practice docs closer than 40 from here. So I had to choose another plan with docs in this city and which is slightly more expensive, so I have some out-of-pocket expense for it.

Bottom line, I now have higher premiums for a plan with higher deductible. I could imagine this happening again in future years. And if I ever lose my job I've got zilch.

So for those who say that a public health plan will take away the plan you have now -- our current system makes that a possibility every time year during the enrollment period.

jameybay (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

The people of Massachusetts should go to John Kerry's house and throw their health insurance bills over his fence. He has let them down. He has let us all down.

Unka Dano (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

I would like to see national health care promoted as a pro-life initiative. I believe that it probably would put the GOP between a rock and a hard place. Should they balk at that statement, demand to know if they’re pro-life or not? It seems that most republicans are pro-life as long as they don’t have any money involved.

Quark (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

I just tried several times to call Sen. Kerry's office regarding his support for the health care "trippger." I couldn't get through, so I sent him the following email, instead: (I will try to call later)

Dear Sen. Kerry,

I worked VERY hard for your election in 2004 for the presidency. I also donated a lot of money to your campaign (in fact, more than I could really afford.) I have been a Democratic activist and delegate most of my adult life.

That said, I want you to know how OBSCENE I think it is that you apparently just came out in favor of a "trigger" for a public health care option, and that it would be available ONLY 1) after 10 years and 2) with clear evidence that the health insurance companies are not fulfilling their obligations.

Come clean and GIVE BACK your campaign funding from the parties interested in dooming any REAL reform to the U.S. healthcare system.

Support REAL reform by supporting a single-payer system, or at LEAST a true public option.

American people want CHOICE, sir, not the garbage that comes from bribing our elected politicians.

You should KNOW how most of us in this country are suffering with the current system --- even those who supposedly are "covered." You and the rest of our elected (so-called) representatives should ALL go without health insurance or access to medical care based on a sliding scale (i.e., the wealthier you are, the more proportionately expensive health care is for you.) THEN maybe you'd have SOME idea of the plight of the rest of this country's CITIZENS and TAXPAYERS.

jJeanne (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

I too am a 960 listener from the Bay Area and am heartsick that Thom's program has been shortened and moved to a later time slot so that he is no longer live! In Thom's usual time slot they have moved Ed Schultz in. In my opinion Ed is the left's Rush. I am not impressed. If anyone else is outraged pleas let 960 know. Thank you John for the link.

AZAFVET (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

Today;s healthcare news and a new turncoat.


Edward Capo Beach (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

I hear the pundit news corp's... speaking of the cost of health care...

OH GOD... "The American White Collar God Like Ruling Class...The Kings Of Our Oblivion"...

Health Care Reform Is Stimulus You Idiot's Stimulus Times Ten.

Brenda (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

Thom, I just wanted to be sure you would see this issue and perhaps discuss it at some point.

In all the talk about healthcare, I have never once heard anyone mention the need to make alternative or integrative medicine as accessible and affordable as “traditional” or mainstream medical practices. I believe that healthcare is a right, not a privilege. I also believe that the ability to choose what healthcare you receive is important. It makes no sense to have affordable healthcare if it is only the mainstream, fix-it-with-a-pill or chop-it-out-in-surgery options are available.

I went through a myriad of expensive and invasive tests, was given multiple prescriptions, referred to countless specialists over the course of 4 years and it was all in vain. I have paid thousands of dollars out of pocket for these medical expenses and I had full insurance coverage!

When I was diagnosed with diabetes type II at Christmas time last year I decided that I would pursue alternative treatment as all my prior seeking had brought me naught in 4 years. I didn’t even know what my options were but happened to here Thom use the word “naturopath” during his show. After a long search (it’s damn hard to find an alternative practitioner or naturopath) I began seeing a naturopath, knowing full well that my insurance would cover only office visits. 4 months later I have lost 20 pounds, my neuropathy has vanished, and my blood sugar levels are approaching normal. A simple Carroll test showed I am allergic to potatoes, which I was eating everyday, and eliminating them from my diet has also eliminated several of my ailments.

Why did no one in mainstream medicine in 4 years think to do this test? Instead I had CT scan, and ultrasounds and endoscopies and prescriptions, none of which addressed the underlying problems and all of which were expensive! Even with insurance I paid several thousand dollars for “treatment” that resulted in my whole “healthcare team” saying “we don’t know what’s wrong with you.”

It is so important that alternative medicine be accessible at least as an option. I have had to pay out of pocket for all of my supplements and testing ordered by my naturopath, but every cent has been a step towards healing. Can you believe, I had to sign a waiver to see my naturopath because she cannot even be licensed in my state (NC)?

Mainstream medicine is so often not about healing people, but instead about maintaining the sickness. Perpetual sickness insures a solid consumer base. Healing on the other hand is about the patient instead of the patient’s dollars. Why isn’t alternative or integrative medicine ever brought up in this discussion?

Loretta Long (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

Thank you Quark, for calling Sander's office. I went to the protest in front of the Federal building in Portland, Oregon which was small, because there were other protests going on about torture, but while we were there, 11,000 signatures were delivered to Wyden's office asking him to vote for a public option. So we may be getting closer to getting Wyden's vote for at least a public option. But Thom's comments about the public "option" possibly being that rinky dink savings plan won't help much, so we have to keep the pressure on full out .

And we should have a central website devoted to just this issue. The group protesting today in PDX believes single payer is the only option, but I think a central website should cover both the single-payer protests and the public option protests. I don't see how we can do this without a ton of people in the streets because we are up against so much big money, as usual.

Apparently Wyden was listening to the pointed remarks saying we won't vote for him unless he gets us a public option.

Quark (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago


You're welcome. I wish I had better info. for you.

What group (if any) sponsored the protest you attended? (Maybe that's a place to start.)

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to hartmannreport.com - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

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