Dear President Obama,

medicare-for-all-images I understand you’re thinking of dumping your “public option” because of all the demagoguery by Sarah Palin and Dick Armey and Newt Gingrich and their crowd on right-wing radio and Fox.  Fine.  Good idea, in fact.

Instead, let’s make it simple.   Please let us buy into Medicare.

It would be so easy.  You don’t have to reinvent the wheel with this so-called “public option” that’s a whole new program from the ground up.  Medicare already exists.  It works.  Some people will like it, others won’t – just like the Post Office versus FedEx analogy you’re so comfortable with.

Just pass a simple bill – it could probably be just a few lines, like when Medicare was expanded to include disabled people – that says that any American citizen can buy into the program at a rate to be set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) which reflects the actual cost for us to buy into it.

So it’s revenue neutral!

To make it available to people of low income, raise the rates slightly for all currently non-eligible people (like me - under 65) to cover the cost of below-200%-of-poverty people.  Revenue neutral again.

Most of us will do damn near anything to get out from under the thumbs of the multi-millionaire CEOs who are running our current insurance programs.  Sign me up!

This lets you blow up all the rumors about death panels and grandma and everything else: everybody knows what Medicare is.  Those who scorn it can go with Blue Cross.  Those who like it can buy into it.  Simplicity itself.

Of course, we’d like a few fixes, like letting Medicare negotiate drug prices and filling some of the holes Republicans and AARP and the big insurance lobbyists have drilled into Medicare so people have to buy “supplemental” insurance, but that can wait for the second round.  Let’s get this done first.

Simple stuff.  Medicare for anybody who wants it.  Private health insurance for those who don’t.  Easy message.  Even Max Baucus and Chuck Grassley can understand it.  Sarah Palin can buy into it, or ignore it.  No death panels, no granny plugs, nothing.  Just a few sentences.

Replace the “you must be disabled or 65” with “here’s what it’ll cost if you want to buy in, and here’s the sliding scale of subsidies we’ll give you if you’re poor, paid for by everybody else who’s buying in.”  (You could roll back the Reagan tax cuts and make it all free, but that’s another rant.)

We elected you because we expected you to have the courage of your convictions.  Here’s how.  Not the “single payer Medicare for all”  that many of us would prefer, but a simple, “Medicare for anybody who wants to buy in.”


Thom Hartmann


David Day (not verified) 13 years 41 weeks ago

For many weeks Thom has been talking the cynics back from the edge by postulating that President Obama may be seeming to play checkers when in fact he is playing chess. Thom said time will tell. I believe we got the answer this weekend. He is playing neither. He is playing Three Card Monty. This result is not what we phone-banked, door-knocked, and fought for. Rahm and Barack have betrayed the very constituents who they should be most beholden to. Why? The answer is two-fold: 1. We don't have the juice; i.e. money$$$. 2. We don't have the juice; i.e. the organized and determined passion to fight back. Our opponents do. They may be totally wrong, (I believe they are), but they do have "spine". Welcome to Mpls. Thom. I'll see you at the Suburban World Theater tonight!

Bob F (not verified) 13 years 41 weeks ago

For months we have been told that the public option is an essential part of Obama's program, and we were given solid reasons for why this must be true. Obama even repeatedly said as much himself in his town halls and press conferences. How can he possibly drop it and maintain any credibility and self-respect? You don't just drop the centerpiece and start saying it wasn't essential. And if you drop it when opposition gets tougher, well then you are showing us who you are.

The public option was the motor of the vehicle that was to be health care reform. We are now told that we don't need the motor as long as we have good brakes and steering. Besides, we have this hamster in a wheel!

I am disgusted. This is so transparent. We the people don't have the money and therefore count very little.

Eric Cooper (not verified) 13 years 41 weeks ago

Wonderful letter. Please let the President know on the air to stop pissing on his base once and for all and stand firm for something against this slippery slope blue dog Congress. Otherwise he has lost my vote as well.

Wanda (not verified) 13 years 41 weeks ago

The one thing I'd add, Thom, would be that this Medicare buy-in be the place where our elected representative obtain the tax-payer purchased health care.

If that's the case, I'll bet they fix those holes.

Food Fascist (not verified) 13 years 41 weeks ago

What I learned at Camp O This Weekend We Will Get Health Care Reform This Year

Saturday August 15, at Camp 'O' I expressed concern that Organizing for America, for which is now the name of Obama's grassroots organization, that we should put a visual Power Point together at a 5th grade level story book to help the rest of America understand what is going on. Not to insult anyone, however, this is what the average American reads at.

We Are Going to get Health Care Reform this year

1.) The response I received was a psssst and a 'we are going to get health care reform' this year. I asked...well what percentage of Americans are like those we are seeing on tv at the town hall meetings. The same fellow and now more of his colleagues looked at me ....'the percentage is almost negligable'....

I said, so it will be like the protest against Sonya Sotomeyer...when the same sort called her a racist and then at the end, were just made to feel like fools - and watched her be sworn in anyway?


Just take over the definition of 'Co-operative'

2.) Another insider I heard speak but not at this event hinted that we were going to get health care reform, its just that we might change what it is called and we will get in no matter what, its just that we might take over the meaning of say the word...'Co-op.'

The deal has already been made

3.) We know that now the drug companies are on 'our side' because the deal has been made, just like Obama's presidency with Wall St in that Wall St backed the President...and so now the drug company.....

That deal of course, the drug companies will run 150 million dollars worth of advertizing to support the President's plan.

Barack had no choice but to deal with the Drug Companies who will agree to invest 150 million dollars into promoting health care reform: Even Thom Hartmann, critical but 100% supporting Barack says Barack has no other real choice:

Food Fascist (not verified) 13 years 41 weeks ago

Bill Moyers Interview Wrap up is best solution is to extend Medicare to Age 55

TRUDY LIEBERMAN: We are having the same debate, almost, that we had in '93-'94. And it's something I've written about for the Columbia Journalism Review. It's actually the same debate we've had decades before. And it's the unwillingness to look at what we could learn from other systems. Single payer, multiple payers, as they have in Germany and Japan. Or even in the Netherlands, where there are private payers. What's really happening there?

So, I think there's an unwillingness on the part of politicians-- on the part of advocacy groups, some advocacy groups, to really educate Americans on what the possibilities are. And we at C.J.R. have been saying we really have not had a vibrant discussion about other possibilities.

MARCIA ANGELL: I think we have to start all over on this. I really do. I think we have to go for a single payer system. You could institute that gradually. You could do it state by state. You could do it decade by decade. You could improve Medicare. That is, make it nonprofit. But extend it down to age 55 and age 45 and age 35. It would give the private insurance industry a chance to go into hurricanes, earthquakes or something. To get out of the health business. It could be done gradually. I think that has to be done. And it's the only thing that can be done.

BILL MOYERS: The story goes on and we'll continue to talk about it in the months to come, alright? Marcia Angell, Trudy Lieberman, thanks for being with me on the Journal

See this Bill Moyers interview

Phil (not verified) 13 years 41 weeks ago

I am a lifelong progressive democrat, and I have had enough. We can take this sitting down like the spineless democrats in congress or we can stand up and fight back! Since OUR representatives are more afraid of losing their seats than giving us what we want, let’s take those seats away from them. We have the power. But I have a new approach and am looking for support from my progressive brothers and sisters. Since democrats are not afraid of the left (why should they be, the left hasn’t put of a real fight in 40 years), let’s come at them from the right. Here is my logic. We could support progressive opposition candidates from the left, but the incumbents would easily defeat them in the primary. The real threat comes in the general against the Republican candidate. In many districts, the Democrat’s margin is very thin, especially in the blue dog districts. It we progressives put our effort and finances behind the Republican candidate, we will have better chance of unseating our turncoat, Democratic representatives. They need to be punished for their disloyalty to the cause.

Democrats, we gave you a majority in both houses, we will take it away. Who will join me?

Yellowbird (not verified) 13 years 41 weeks ago

Who will join you in supporting Republicans to "scare" and "depose" Democrats? Certainly NOT me! Nothing like cutting your nose off to spite your face!

More aggressive progressive organizations are forming and they have lists of Democratic Blue Dog Traitors to replace. Money is being collected for primary battles and they will be replaced with PROGRESSIVES not republicans.

Yellowbird (not verified) 13 years 41 weeks ago

Would you like an illustration of just what the other side is saying? Do you want THESE PEOPLE back in charge of our nation? Just watch this clip PLEASE:

Phil (not verified) 13 years 41 weeks ago

Yellowbird, obvously I am pissed off and ranting a bit. In 1992, I canvassed and fundraised for a Single Payer System, and since then have been a champion of progressive reform. Believe me, I hate Republicans as much as, well, almost as much as the spineless Democrats that WE put into office to make the changes WE demanded. I can tell you this, if there is not a strong public opton in the health care bill and Obama signs it, the health care system will still be broke, the Republicans will have gotten what they wanted and, worst of all, the Democrats will have spent ALL of their political capital for NOTHING. If you're going to take a big hit politically, it has to be worth it. Johnson knew there were going to be serious political repercussions for pushiing through the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and Medicare, but he did the right thing, got them passed and then took the heat.

The other side has already won this battle, and is effectively still in charge. The only way progressives could have won the hearts and minds of the public was to fight, fight, fight; to demonstrate the courage of their convictions. Most voters just want to see if you are passionate about something. The right knows this, and uses it to get their way every time. Instead of fighting, the Democrats wilted, and expained how unfair the fight was, how many lies the opposition told. There will be a massive Democratic losses in both houses in 2010, so get ready for it.

I also fear that Obama is a one term president. The only chance we had was to cram through progressive legislation, and to hell with bi-partisanship. Does anyone really think the Republicans care about anything? Hell no, their only interest is to be in power, to prevent change.

I think the progressives should re-focus their energy towards the few states where we have a real chance to make a big change, and forget about the national stage. I think that in Washington and Oregon, we could get a regional Single-Payer System in place, I think that is more likely. To hell with Iowa and Montana, if they want the status-quo, good luck with that.

Julie (not verified) 13 years 41 weeks ago

MEDICARE FIT :The one word name for our nations health plan and your
idea of letting all Americans join Medicare.

It "FITS" our nations pocketbook and the individuals pocket.
It make America FIT and healthy economically and physically.

What do you think? An easy catchy positive phrase

Feedback please. Thanks. Julie

Hadenough (not verified) 13 years 41 weeks ago

I love your letter Thom.

I do believe like Phil said we can either take this lying down like most of the left has been or we can hit the streets and protest. What has happened to the American spirit that knew protesting as one of the only ways to be heard? I think the right is counting on us to just continue to lie down and do our emails and phone calls. The problem with these forms of "voice" is that know one else sees them or hears them. People begin to think that they are the only one out there screaming to be heard. If we take to the streets like others have it is harder to be ignored and silenced. I am almost 60 and I wonder why the younger generation is just sitting silent and not out there protesting? I think we need a revolution. The question is, "Will it be peaceful or violent? The Chinese, French and may others are willing to stand up and hit the streets, why aren't we? Before it is to late TAKE TO THE STREETS PEOPLE AND LET YOUR VOICES BE HEARD!

dianhow (not verified) 13 years 41 weeks ago

Great letter Thom ! Go for it. What else can We all do ?
Its no big surprise that Barack is caving to the powerful insurance lobby- fat cats who have screwed us for 30 yrs. Barack is under tremendous pressure- and he's had only 7 + months to do accomplish this huge feat.
. This meltdown took 30 long years to bring us to our knees. Many folks wonder- how we can afford public care now. So many are gullible and easily fooled by the same old right wing lies- smears- fear tactics being used from 1980- Reagan through Bush 2008.. Clinton did not help with NAFTA - Free - but NOT fair trade and signing the Glass Steagal bill.
Two very bad moves by Clinton. .Keep up the great work Thom !
You Maddow and big Ed Schultz keep us going . This is nerve wracking !!


jsdfw (not verified) 13 years 41 weeks ago

I agree with the Medicare option except for one thing - PART D!! I am on Medicare and have to pay over $5000 in medication cost between January and February because of the "donut hole." Like I said, I totally agree. We have to have some kind of option. It's just the Republicans "did use in" when Part D was created.

arbuckster (not verified) 13 years 41 weeks ago

Thom Thanks for your letter, it is wonderful! Below is what I wrote to President Obama today. I also called the White House and voiced my concerns, disappointments, and what I expect him to do for Americans.

Dear President Obama,

My name is Donald Arbuckle and I retired in 1999 after 20 years of service from the United States Air Force. I was a die hard Republican during my career; however, I became an Independent because I became very disillusioned with both the Democratic and Republican parties. Then you came along and gave me new hope for our country. However, I just heard something on the radio that is very disturbing to me. The commentator stated that you are thinking allowing the removal of the public option from your healthcare reform bill. I do not understand how you can cave in to the Republican Party and the special interests. We elected to make some hard choices and to make changes that America needs. It is the right of every American to have affordable health care. The more you give in to the Republicans, the more you let down those who fought hard to get you elected. It is time for you to stand strong for all of us. You have the responsibility to fight hard to get this health care reform passed without the Co-Op as part of the bill.

I have two suggestions for health care reform:

First, let me say that I have “public option” health care called TriCare. I am one of the fortunate citizens who have good medical coverage. My wife is also covered. My children were covered when they were younger. It only costs me $465.00 a year for TriCare Prime. Now that my children have graduated from college, they no longer have health insurance, and that concerns me as a parent.

I also have a sister who does not have health insurance. She has high enough income to be ineligible for state insurance but not enough income to buy her own. The discs in her back are deteriorating. She is only 50 years old and her quality of life is very poor due to extreme back pain that keeps her a prisoner in her home. She cannot afford to get the medical care she needs.

I think the majority of Americans not eligible for state insurance can afford $465.00 a year for health care ($38.75 per month). Why not allow all Americans buy in to the TriCare system?


Allow all Americans to buy in to Medicare.

Mr. President, please do not give in to the Republican Party or the lobbyists. If you cave in to pressure from these people to sign a bill that exchanges Co-Ops for a true Public Option, you will be responsible for the continued suffering and deaths of Americans who will not get heath care because of your failure to fight for what you know is best for our country. Please do not let America down!


Don Arbuckle

dianhow (not verified) 13 years 41 weeks ago

Thom listeners out there - yes- we are ALL pissed about this apparent cave in by Barack to big powerful insurance lobby etc. But still - I can never again vote GOP- not after what 30 yrs of GOP reign has brought us to- this world wide meltdown / disaster. Rragan - Bush deregulation- trillions in fat cat tax breaks- lying us into iraq- ignoring the needs of middle America. GOP gave up the finger long ago. Thats why I became a Dem in 2008. If we get another Repub Pres- they will just FINISH US OFF !

Randy Winn (not verified) 13 years 41 weeks ago

Call it "FamilyCare"

Or "VAM" - Voluntary Access to Medicare

Or Patients Able to Join America's Medicare Act : PAJAMA!

PMS666 (not verified) 13 years 41 weeks ago

I like my "Dear Obama" letter better -

Stephanie (not verified) 13 years 41 weeks ago

Hi Thom,

Thank you! Thank you! I dropped my healthcare coverage a couple years ago because I could not afford it. I would love an option to buy into Medicare. Your letter is clear and simple and, I believe, represents the opinion of the majority of the American people. It is brilliant in that it leaves no room for conservatives to shoot it down. I plan to send it to all my friends, along with the number for the White House Customer Service line. We HAVE to get this done as a country, and I believe we are "so close", that I can taste it. Let's keep the pressure on the Democrats to do the job we elected them to do. Thanks for all you do!

gemini7 (not verified) 13 years 41 weeks ago

Thanks Thom,

I wish we could make your letter into a petition.

Phil (not verified) 13 years 41 weeks ago

dianhow - yes republicans are bad people who do bad things, it would please me to see them disappear - and they probably would have if the democrats hadn't bungled the healthcare issue. When you have your opponent down, don't offer your hand, put your boot on their neck. Why is this simple lesson lost on the present day democratic party? Now isn't the time for bi-partisanship. Now isn'tt the time to unite the county or build a consensus. Do the republicans do this? No, they shove their repulsive laws down our throats and demand we thank them for it. Now is the time for us to do some shoving and to clean up after 33 years of corporate hegemony.

We have to ask ourselves what are the democrats doing with their veto-proof majority in the senate, the majority in the house and the White House? Are they bringing the change we believe in and demand? No. Should we be patient while the democrats work it out, after all it's only been 7 months? No, they only have 17 more until the republicans retake congress in Jan 2011.

So, if the president wants us to "make him do it " as Thom suggests, what better way that the treat of losing their majority? Believe me, none of the Blue Dogs fear pressure from the left. They know that if they were to shift left in their positions, they would lose the right leaning independents in their disticts and lose in the general election. If a progressive opponent were to beat the incumbent in the primary, the result in the general would be the same. That leaves only one option, support the republican in the race. Obviously this is not a good option because we all hate republicans, but it the message needs to be sent to the Blue Dogs. They must be punished for their disobedience and disloyalty. Maybe if they hear this message some will change their minds and decide that it is more important to have real health care reform than to keep their damn seats in congress.

So, to all of you Blue Dogs out there - you need to do the right thing, even if doing so gets you beat in the next election. Your country needs your sacrafice. If you join with your progressive brothers and sisters in the congress and pass a health care bill with a public option, we may support you in the next election. And even if you lose your seat, at least you will lose with dignity and leave a positive legacy for future generations.

gemini7 (not verified) 13 years 41 weeks ago

I will agree with Phil on the point that so called bipartisanship hasn't gotten us anywhere and should have been abandoned as a strategy after the first failed attempt. When and if Obama realized that holding hands and singing Kumbaya with these people wasn't going to work he should have had a plan B. They have openly stated that they want this bill to be his Waterloo and that they want him to fail. Thom has offered him a way to save this initiative and for once I hope he pays attention to the people who actually support him.

Virginia (not verified) 13 years 41 weeks ago

Thank you, Thom, for pushing the Medicare for all proposal! Finally a voice of reason in the endless white noise of cable media. I am left to wonder, given the simple elegance of this solution, why it has not been proposed by anyone in the Congress. Has it?

JoyCan (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

I have written and called all my elected representatives for weeks now. I have had no responses. I am upset, dismayed, and disappointed. Now my emails tell them that I will work very very hard to unseat any of my representatives that allows the public option to be dumped. And I mean it.

Ann deLorge (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

What would it take to turn Tom's letter into a petition. That would be something we could pass around to friends and neighbors and send to our newspapers, etc. I've never even heard anyone mention the idea of expanding medicare before.

surfacing (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

Hello Thom,

First off, my first time posting here so let me say thank you for being a voice of reason in this maelstrom. Continue your good work!

Second, I agree with jsdfw... Medicare Part D must be revamped. I work for a pharmacy and Part D is a quagmire. First of all it is endlessly confusing. When it was first introduced it was a nightmare trying to explain how it worked to our elderly customers mostly because it was so needlessly complicated that we didn't understand it ourselves. Secondly, the "donut hole" is a farce for obvious reasons. Why stop covering someone in the middle of the year??? Do they need their medications less at that time? Also, people are penalized with higher premiums for not signing up as soon as they are eligible. Finally, it is administered by private insurance entities which means that there are as many different medicare plans as their are Medicare D carriers and every year anyone covered by Part D must reassess all the plans available to ascertain which plan on the market would cover them best. In the end, it still saves more money than private plans (unless you are covered by a pension or good retirement plan), but why all the strings (and insurance companies) attached?

So, along with your message of keeping health care reform simple should be the message that ALL medicare should be kept simple and open to all with no penalties attached for not choosing it during a restricted window of opportunity.

BTW, I live in a blue dog state and have written Kay Hagan to let her know I will accept nothing less than a public option. I'm planning on calling the president today as well. Thanks again!

Phil (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

JoyCan, BTW - keep the volume on high. Half measures are not acceptable. Insurance reform without a public option actually increases the power of the insurance companies. I have been appealing to the more progessive senators, Sanders and Feingold, to filibuster a senate bill that does not contain a public option. I plan to call in this Friday to speak with Senator Sanders and ask that he does.

LeeH (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

I started a note to the White House:

Disappointed: that describes how I feel about the inconsistent message emanating from the administration. I like and agree with the following message already sent to the President:

Then I copied the Thom Hartmann post.

And then I added:

And if additional financing is needed, how about -- as I suggested in a previous e-mail -- a ten cent per share traded fee applied to all stock, commodity and other transactions executed in the country?

Thanks for listening. I still want to believe that 'Yes, We Can!'; but I'm feeling like we're in a 'No, We Can't' mode at the moment.

Titantom (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

Thom you need to let everyone know about Congressmen Weiner. He is great. He was on Morning Joe this morning and after he explained Medicare for all to Joe Joe did not have a comment back. In fact he said in the 2 years that he has been doing the show that he was speachless. Anthony Weiner knows how to explain this issue and you need to let everyone know. He also was on Dylan Ratigan's Morning Meeting and was also exceptional there. Please let everyone know how he approached the issue of Medicare For All because he explains it in fiscally responsible way that even can turn Republicans that haven't been bought out.

crease (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

Trying to appease the enemy (re-pukes) is like trying to pull teeth from a Bear.They will not give an inch on anything.We need reform and it starts with the Sherman anti trust laws.The right is white and wealthy and racist, everything they stand for is surrounded by by their ideology which is party first and country later.

Titantom (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

Thom I really think we need to focus on two things:

1. Medicare For All as Anthony Weiner and you have said. Whether it is Single Payer or Comprehensive Public Option.

2. I think we should name this bill The Pro-Life For All Bill. Not HR whatever. I would love to see a Republican vote against something that is called Pro-Life and we also would be taking the word back.

federal pork (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

I think we need a carrot and a stick. If Congress does not include a public option, or Thom's excellent Medicare for All plan, the progressive Caucus should be asking for the following limits on the insurance companies:

Mandate that all health insurance companies that sell insurance in the US must be based in the US;

Limit executive salaries and overhead to not more than 3% of total operating budget;

Mandate that they must cover any applicants, with no restrictions on preexisting conditions;

Restrict the amount they can charge for premiums and co-pays, maybe based on a percentage of income;

Make it illegal with very stiff penalties for insurance companies to drop patients after a diagnosis;

Mandate that insurance cover experimental treatment in controlled studies, and make it illegal for them to deny medication, tests or treatment that a medical doctor deems necessary.

I think if this were on the table, the insurance companies would be begging for a public option. :-)


The Stick

SeaClearly (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

Just absolutely wonderful, Mr. Hartmann.

President Obama’s NYTimes editorial: Not a word about “Public Option[s]” (or, heaven forbid, Single-Payer). “But for all the scare tactics out there, what’s truly scary – truly risky – is the prospect of doing nothing.” What’s truly atrocious – truly regressive – are (corporate) democrats (and your administration) selling out every progressive/liberal aspect, resulting in the uninsured being handed over to the private insurers as “fresh meat,” – then, spinning it as Reform.’s-nytimes-editorial

jmort (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

Buy into Medicare : Public Option as Public Option : Single Payer.

It is a move backwards and a capitulation to the noise machine. It is only the right wing media that has decided the public option is dead and declared the game to be over because they have no game. We've wasted a half a week trying to respond to such nonsense when we should be putting the heat on the Senate. We can not allow ourselves to be diverted or disheartened; when we work together and stay on message we are unstoppable.

"Yet there's no one to beat you,
No one t' defeat you,
'Cept the thoughts of yourself feeling bad". Bob Dylan, To Ramona, 1964

This is our game and if we refuse to accept the handicaps proposed by the opposition we will be victorious. Failing that we have nothing.


PS: We don't need no stinkin' co-ops.

whybaby (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

Such a wonderful letter, Thom. I'm forwarding it wherever I can. And I love what one of your listeners called it:
MEDICARE FOR ALL (voluntarily): a "SHOVEL-READY" project!

One thing I suggest you do is present this letter of yours on YOUTUBE. The letter itself cannot be improved upon, but you have a presence that doesn't fully come through via the written word alone. I believe your "in-person" speaking abilities would give your message even more impact. And you could present it the way Pres. Obama does his weekly radio/video address. Not only will you be speaking to us, you'll also be speaking FOR us.

Tell your listeners when you've done it, and we'll do the rest. We'll make you viral!

With your help, we may avoid being co-opted.

kas (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

All this madness...
Everything that's going on in this country is understandable. We are witnessing the end of the dominance of Western Civilization...

Historically, not a very long run I'm afraid. Sort of a flash in the pan.
As far as America goes, maybe the best moments of this entire experiment came with our forefathers and the Declaration of Independence.

"Don't worry Ma, I'm only bleedin"

Ray Mathis (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

The health care debate is symptomatic of, and highlighting two, and maybe three things that are REALLY wrong with America. First, that the insurance industry and other corporate interests have bought an inordinate and unhealthy amount of influence over the legislative process and government through campaign contributions and lobbying. Second, corporate America has built a massive propaganda machine, largely through corporate owned conservative talk radio, that blankets our country and controls the information people receive in a way that would impress even the leaders of the old Soviet Union. A third possible problem is that there seems to be no real accountability analogous to slander and liable in civil law for those who knowingly and deliberately dispense lies and misinformation about people or policies. They hide behind "free speech" but the speech on this massive propaganda machine that is conservative talk radio is anything but FREE. It has gone to the highest bidder. The most stations and strongest signals are owned by those individuals and corporations with the most assets. And, much of what is being said is approaching the equivalent of yelling "fire" in a crowded theater, an example often cited as an exemption to free speech.

Ray Mathis (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

I spent thirty-three years trying to get people to disturb themselves less. To do that I had to know the mechanisms by which they disturb themselves needlessly. That's why I recognize full well exactly what people like Limbaugh, Hannity and Savage do. People generate anxiety by imagining bad things happening (catastrophizing) and then telling themselves it will be awful is those things in fact do happen. Conservative talkers routinely encourage and facilitate their listeners to generate anxiety in themselves by presenting them with possible, but highly unlikely scenarios and framing them in terms like "socialism" to tap into old existing prejudices or beliefs, and emotion. Sadly, they are very good at what they do. What we're seeing is basically a nationwide anxiety DISORDER, and like all anxiety, it is simply a figment of imagination. Some have disturbed themselves so much that they are literally plugging into their fight or flight mechanism. And we're seeing perfect examples of how anger makes otherwise smart people do stupid things, and how anger gives people a false sense of power, righteousness and permission.

Ray Mathis (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

It was nice to see you at Frugal Muse last night. Would have liked to talk to you, but don't like waiting in lines.

BTW, I traveled from D.C to Washington state this summer by car from my home in IL. You really have to do that to get a real feel for just how bad this propaganda machine is. We all know the numbers, but you have to travel by car to really get the full impact of it. What I started to do to stay awake is scan the AM dial every 50 miles and record the station number and conservative talker that was on at the time on my Rand McNally. Limbaugh was on 7 different stations at once on the Ohio Turnpike. For most areas, there are always at least 3 conservative talk station on at any given time, and they all have the strongest signals, some coming from two or more states away. And when one fades out, another always replaces it. This is no accident. Now just imagine if you're living and commuting in one of these areas and that's all you hear day after day.

Ray Mathis (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

I've come up with two names for grassroots organizations. One is Citizens Against Corporate America. The other is Fighting Unregulated Corporate Control in the United States. Mainly because I like the acronyms. The first spells our clearly what we've gotten from them. The second accurately depicts what they've done to us and the US. And, if you just use the U to represent the United States, and drop the S, it could be our response to them.

farbie (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

Thom, your suggestion on Monday, about a "buy-in" to Medicare, is terrific! I have been pursuing "Medicare for All" for several weeks, after becoming disgusted with Obama's pussyfooting around with the Republicans and the Blue Dogs. It's simple, its effective, and will get the same result that Obama "wants," a "public option." The only thing that I would add is the campaign should be named, "Medicare for All." While that really implies a single-payer system (which I prefer) because it is a "buy-in" it's not single payer. Medicare for All, Medicare for All, MEDICARE FOR ALL!!!

Jose Cortez (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

Why don't all you people move to Canada?
Problem solved.

Maldonado (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

What an ignorant comment made by mr. Cortez. Being an American is supposed to be proactive, not sit back and let the government do whatever it wishes. Perhaps that's what you were used to in your country, but that's not how it's done here.

Mena Sprague (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

For Senator Sanders, last Friday at Rep. Adrian Smith's unpublicized town hall meeting, he said there are those in Washington that want to kill private insurance, I asked him who? He said there are many of them, so Dave said no I need names so he said Bernie Sanders, I said I heard Senator Sanders this morning say he wants both single payer and private insurance available to the public, Rep Smith said he wants single payer and that kills private insurance. Could you please again state your position? Thanks

rab (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

Thom, I like the ides of Medicare for everyone but I would change how we each pay for it. It should be a percentage of income rather than a fixed premium. If you get a paycheck and want Medicare, you pay a percentage. If your income varies from week to week as mine does you pay an amount based on that week. Poorer people would still be able to pay a small amount and not be required to go through the demeaning process of applying for assistance. People close to the threshold limits would not have to choose between working fewer hours and having health care, or working more hours and going over the threshold and not being able to afford the premium. Anything else is regressive.

rab (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

I believe that the repubs are opposing any public option because they know it will shift the balance of power between workers and employers. In an employer based health insurance system the employers have power over the workers because workers will do anything to keep their jobs. What happens when workers don't have to stay at a job to get health care? Think about it. The base will become stronger and empowered. And as Thom has said many times, you have to build the economy from the base up. I believe the ripple effect from health care reform will change the country in a very positive way.

Textynn (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

Posted by AZAFVET on Huffpost

Imagine 2009

Imagine no co-payments
It's easy if you try.
No doctor bills to break us
Or rejections to make us cry.
Imagine all our neighbors
Living without pain.

Imagine no deductibles
It isn't hard to do.
Prescription drugs for healing
And hospitalizations too.
Imagine all Americans
Living their lives in health.

You may say that I'm a Dreamer
But I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us
And the Health care payer will be just one.

Imagine no pre-existing conditions
I wonder if you can.
No need for approvals or referrals
And no Insurance Scams.
Imagine all our citizens
Sharing health for all.

You may say we're all dreamers
But we're not the only ones.

If our elected officials will hear us
Our insurance payer would be just one.

Glenda Boozer (not verified) 13 years 40 weeks ago

This is the most sensible option I have heard yet, but then I'm partial, since I've been asking about it for months now.

I found work that I could do despite my physical disability, but that locks me out of any reasonable chance of health care.

David K (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

There are a few problems with such a concept though. If we can choose to buy into Medicare at any given time, how do we keep people from buying in only when it benefits them? Also remember, Medicare offers almost no wellness and prevention. Just a few tests. Medicare also does not cover alternative medicines (such as chiropractic) many people feel works for them, and quite often, are far cheaper. No dental. Just think of the plans you could get on the private market if such an option existed? They would blow away the Medicare option...for the healthy. "Just a few lines" sounds so easy, but keeping such a program solvent would be quite a task. I heard Dick Morris (I know, get past the source though, this makes sense) talking about the Clinton health plan days. He was making suggestions to Hillary about aspects of her plan he felt he could get support for. Morris claimed that Hillary protested, saying if it's not all, it's nothing. She likened health coverage to squeezing a balloon, if you just push on some areas, the bulge just moves. I think she is right.
I also like how one of the first posters likened The White House message to three card monty, there is no trust on what "reform" will look like. Frankly, I feel if Obama came head on with a catastrophic health plan all Americans had to pay into, he could have sold it. Negotiated with insurance companies the roll they would play in a redesigned wellness and nutrition market, an area many are making money in already. Tell business and individuals head on, I will raise your taxes, but your health premiums will drop and stabilize. Incorporate Obama's concept of listing what health services should cost. Make everyone seeking care an auditor. The possibilities are exciting. Most American's are for health care's just too bad we are not seeing it. That's not the fault of right wing talkers, the blame resides in the Oval Office.

Angie Daniels (not verified) 13 years 39 weeks ago

I've said this all along. Please forward this letter to both President Obama and to liberal sites like Huffington Post and Move On.

We stood together to get you elected, Mr. President, and we will stand behind you to get healthcare. But why not work within the system? I'd be perfectly happy being allowed to buy into Medicare. The insurance industry could revamp itself as supplemental policies instead (which I'd have no problem with) and everyone is happy. But STOP trying to reach across party lines. They don't want you, they don't want me, they don't want anyone to be healthy except for their apparently wealthy and perfectly insured constituents. And that's not good enough!

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