Friday - September 11th 2009
Sep 11 - 2pm Pacific/4pm Central - "The Great Health Care Debate!" Thom debates conservative Michael Medved on Chicago's Progressive Talk station WCPT AM & FM...details at www.chicagoprogressivetalk.com
Hour One: "Brunch With Bernie" Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) spends the hour with Thom discussing the issues and answering listener questions www.sanders.senate.gov
Hour Two: Bill McKibben www.350.org Why is 350 is the most important number in the world?
I would implore everyone who gives a dam about health care to call your representatives and let them know that we want to see some price caps on what insurance can charge especially for pre-existing conditions and for people who get ill period but for all people. What many people are not speaking about nor did i hear in the speech is about price caps on what a private insurance company can charge period across the board. If we think a insurance exchange will work we are fools, most insurance is controlled by a few parent companies and they will collude and will price fix. We can not tolerate health insurers doing credit checks or geographical pricing on potential policy holders and pricing many individuals and families out of their coverage! In other words the insurance mafia can get around coverage buy charging far more than the individual or family can afford and they know what your financial situation is.
Couple this thought with a individual mandate. When we pay our and insurance mob boss's and big stock holders our hard earned money and it is getting impossible for most people to keep up, in essence we are paying a tax to a private institution and oh man do fiscal conservatives love taxes, the private kind that flows into there ruling class pockets!
Not to mention the second tax we pay that goes to subsidize health insurers and cover the negative slack space in the system caused by private administration cost and management over billing. Watch the paperwork and administration cost double with a individual mandate.
Man the insurance companies must be licking their chops......single payer could save our country from the pain and misery to come on many levels fiscal and personal, small mid and large business and state deficits could improve and stimulate our over all well being. We know the ruling class does not care about the welfare of this nation and the people behind this are the ruling class.
I waited until Thom said his piece before wishing to add my impression of the president’s speech on Wednesday. Most left-wing pundits immediately afterwards seemed enthralled by the speech, and Obama certainly scored on style and passion points. He laid out the moral issues at stake forcefully, and did not shy from ridiculing the campaign of misinformation and cynicism of the opposition. Thom seemed willing to join the rapture that far, but apparently not much further.
What I heard was a president stung by the realization that Pollyanna politics doesn’t work in Washington. Obama delivered the kind of speech he should have made last spring when it became clear that the Republicans were serious only in killing health care reform for not just partisan, but personal reasons. He went on the offensive, rather than be frustratingly defensive as was the case in the past. Joe Wilson’s outburst, as ignorant as it was prejudicial, testified to the fact that Obama hit the right notes on the Republican guilt meter.
I was, however, concerned when he started talking about the insurance exchange plan, which seemed at first to suggest a backing away from a public option. Then, without being entirely clear what he was proposing—almost tentatively so—enjoined people not to fear a public option. What was he talking about? Apparently a Massachusetts-type concept of a government commissioner or commission administering a competitive bidding process that provides low-cost insurance. Yet even after making this quizzical step toward a public option, he left the door open for backing away from it.
Obama also proposed a cap on medical malpractice that may be a tough pill to swallow, but it must be considered if it is necessary to prevent “defensive medicine”—a euphemism for the unnecessary procedures that contribute to escalating costs. Obama also mentioned that under his plan people who did not purchase insurance provided by even the "public option" would be subject to involuntary fees, which also, on the face of it, is not entirely unreasonable if they can well afford it. These proposals are no doubt concessions to conservatives, but to his credit Obama did make it clear that he is uninterested in insincere or non-constructive proposals from the Republicans. If they chose to misrepresent or stonewall reform, they will be called out on it, now. The status quo will no longer be tolerated. Sounds good, anyways.
Obama attempted to shame Republicans into making the moral choice, but it was clear in their post-speech “response” that they are completely unprepared to meet him half-way. Naturally, the Republican “response” was as shallow and idiotic as Joe Wilson’s, placing the blame on individuals rather than the health care "industry." Individuals need to make “healthier” choices to avoid getting sick. Meanwhile, rather than through a public option or an insurance exchange, “competition” can be fostered by allowing the sale of insurance across state lines. That’s it? In my experience, a resident of the state of Washington can purchase cheap insurance from Texas—except that it is essentially worthless and no doctor here will accept it. The Republicans, of course, won’t level with the people about the cost of their “plan”—which means continuing escalation that will end only when the wealthiest of Americans can afford it, which may be their “plan” in the long run.
If for Obama the endgame is to be the last president who needs to take on the health care issue, he surely must realize that the public option must remain intact, because it is the closest that most Americans seem willing to accept in achieving a health care system that will cover everyone. If the public option is dropped, then we will indeed be forced to deal with the health care issue again—and by that time, it may be too late to “fix.”
Thank you for such clear analysis of President Obama's speech. I went on a similar journey to what you have described in your post while listening to our President give his historic health care speech and I became concerned, nearly despondent, when he began talking about the exchange. And as much as I hated what Joe Wilson did, I was mumbling b....s....myself while he was speaking about the private insurance to be offered in the exchange program, but I was in a small coffee shop. Actually, at that point, I was crying because it was such a huge disappointment.
But the speech soon became an emotional roller coaster after that, as he moved back and forth between centrist views and strongly supporting progressive views.
As he began to describe the public option which, like a magician, he cleverly embedded into the exchange program, I felt that he was brilliantly "Cracking the Code" Unfortunately, unlike FDR, President Obama does not have the support of as many Americans as he needs to be able to pass a stronger public option or single-payer health care. It appears to be true that their are more of them than us, no matter what our majority in congress is. We have blue dogs because we elected blue dogs, and their constituents have been skillfully mislead by mindbogglingly orchestrated campaign to ruin our plans for keeping Americans well and healthy.
The reason so many Americans supported President Obama's plan after his speech was that he talked to both sides of the issue very skillfully. FDR and Lyndon Johnson did not have to face the media blitz that President Obama must dodge and fend off hourly. The right wing media used "The Liar" drama yesterday to to neutralize the power of President Obama's message and avoid having to talk about specific details in his plan. I have a feeling that was the whole point. They are masters at working the press, and simply distracting the press with the circus move, took steam out of President Obama's message.
From the changes in tone in his voice during various times in his speech, it seemed to me that he does indeed support a strong public option and won't sign a bill that doesn't have it in there even though he has offered Republicans and blue dogs the chance to change his mind. I felt that he was clearly promising Americans who live without insurance today the chance to choose a public option. And more than likely a much larger population will have that choice by the time we start signing the papers.
A question for Bernie:
Estimates are that if we eliminated all the time-consuming bureaucratic paperwork involved with filing health insurance claims, that savings alone could pay for heathcare reform.
Has anyone proposed a single "standardized claim form" (preferably digitized) for all insurance to simplify the claims process and reduce administrative costs?
Obama's support for his Afghan policies is fading. My support for Obama on several issues has faded away. Personally, I do not trust him. How can a nation and our world heal with endless wars started by the US of Evil?
How can a nation heal when the culture of violence is so deeply embedded into the American psyche?
Why are we, as Americans, so in love with the smell of napalm in the morning and the smell of burning human flesh in the evening?
An Assistant School Superintendent said to me awhile back, "Once you have tasted blood, you have no desire to acquire any other taste." Yes, this is the American way!!!
Not just for geeks,
Everyone needs to check out this link!
http:/ /www.ted.com/index.php/talks/juan enriquez shares mindboggling new science.html
Comment on that!
Please ask Senator Sanders some or all of the following questions regarding Congress passing regulations vs. pushing for the “Public Option”;
Dear Senator Sanders,
Since the main threat to achieving Universal Health Insurance to all Americans is whether a “Public Option” is created or not and most bills that require funding need 2/3 votes to pass, why doesn’t Congress pass a regulatory only bill? I am concerned that in order to get the “Money” to set up the Public Option many of the crucial regulatory measures will be stripped out as a compromise.
Why doesn’t Congress pass a “Regulatory Only” bill that would prohibit denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, prohibit termination of coverage except in cases of fraud or non payment of premiums, limit co-pays and eliminate lifetime benefit limits, require basic wellness benefits, set minimum provider reimbursement standards based on a revised or upgraded Medicare fee schedule and finally implement a progressive cap on profits that any healthcare insurance provider can earn that would eventually lead to only not for profit companies being legally eligible to provide healthcare insurance.
If we placed these restrictions on insurance companies wouldn’t these companies want universal coverage that would bring all Americans, young, old, healthy & sick into the premium payment pool in order to spread risk and lower overall costs?
I think Single Payer would be the best option to provide universal coverage, but I would rather see new strict regulations put in place first that would eventually eliminate healthcare profiteering and then the marketplace will probably evolve into a Single payer system.
Wouldn’t breaking health insurance reform legislation into separate a Regulatory Bill and a Universal Coverage Bill reduce the overall “Size” for each Bill, which is one of the main criticisms of all of the current bills being debated? I am constantly amazed that Legislation passes or fails because they are perceived to be too many written pages and can’t possibly be read or comprehended in their entirety, so that “Backdoor Provisions” must be in them.
Thank you for your tireless efforts!
Thom and Sen. Sanders...
First of all, thank you both for your ceaseless efforts to get sanity back to this insane process.
I was listening to Ron Reagan yesterday afternoon, and heard a caller whom I believe is a classic example of how hard it will be to galvanize the millions of supporters Senator Sanders is talking about this morning.
The caller made an erroneous point in agreement with the disgraceful behavior of Joe Wilson Wednesday evening. When Ron challenged him with the facts, having his producer get a direct quote from HR3200, the caller absolutely refused to acknowledge the truth of what was actually contained in the bill. How will it be possible to convince millions of people who will not even acknowledge a true fact on it's face?
Given this widely prevalent attitude, I am not hopeful for the fate of this country.
But, PLEASE, keep trying!
Comedian/thoughtful commentator John Fugelsang quoted Lincoln this a.m. regarding southern conservatives. (I unsuccessfully tried to Google it, but it must be buried deeper in Lincoln's writings than that.)
To paraphrase, though, Lincoln "called out" these people. Now they have taken over the Republican party and are what Obama is fighting (along with the corp. backers, of course.)
You can get a little of the flavor of this by reading the poster these southerners put out against Lincoln at the time:
Unfortunately, the majority of people who live in the south, then and now, are held hostage by these extremists.
Re: Unfortunately, the majority of people who live in the south, then and now, are held hostage by these extremists.
...along with the rest of us.
I asked you and Sen Sanders about state rights in heath care. You mistook me for a tenther and I want to clarify my question. Are there not reasonable republicans that are concerned over federal gov power? I know that the crazy right use this as a main sound bite for squashing any effort to national health care program. My real question is: Why doesn't congress work hard at giving the states the ability to choose for themselves so that we can work toward single payer much like Canada did? People who are against helping out their fellow citizens can move to Alabama where 90% of health insurance is controlled by one company!
Nick from Scottsdale, AZ
Re: your comment yesterday that maybe you should show up with a sign outside Obama's speech tomorrow. You asked whether anyone else on the blog would be there. I really wanted to volunteer for both the phone bank and the speech activities. I have gotten sicker and so won't make it. Too bad. It might have been a chance to meet...
H.R. 320, Section handles the “Illegal Aliens” receiving care issue. It is good to see that SENATORs Baucus and Conrad wasted the morning kowtowing to REPRESENTATIVE Joe Wilson’s insane stupidity rather than simply adopting the same provision.
SIDE NOTE: Governor Mark Sanford is an argument for Mental Health Parity.
9/11 Coalition Has 30,000 Valid Signatures To Put Referendum For 9/11 Investigation on November Ballot
In a last minute decision, lawyers for the City of New York have conceded that the New York City Coalition for Accountability Now (NYC CAN), a group comprising 9/11 family members, first responders and survivors, indeed did submit over 30,000 valid signatures to put the referendum for a new 9/11 investigation before the voters of New York City this November.
President is not seeking bi-partisan. He is pro-corporate welfare. Healths Insurance Companies are corporations . . . Therefore require welfare.
U.S. heads for record overseas arms sales in 2009
The United States is close to a new peak in government-to-government arms sales, poised to top last year's record $36.4 billion, Pentagon figures showed.
With one month left in fiscal 2009, the value of such deals stood at $35.3 billion, not including any that may be wrapped up by the September 30 close of the fiscal year, the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency said Thursday.
Spreading peace, love & harmony (and Democracy) though out the world.
Re: President is not seeking bi-partisan. He is pro-corporate welfare. Healths Insurance Companies are corporations . . . Therefore require welfare.
Yes, it's becoming increasingly clear that it's US vs. THEM (the corps. - -- no matter WHO shills for them!)
We need to understand that torture is not a matter of public policy. There are folk, folk who do not have our interests in heart or mind, who attempt to bend discourse otherwise. Their case is that there can be valid interpretations of reality that welcome mankind wallowing in being inhumane to other humans as a primary state of being. This requires inspiring intense and personal fear to subvert the simple fact that other humans are, in fact, also human beings. More personally: We, the People, are Americans; Fear is not our providence.
Torture is a crime. It is our own nation’s law and the law that we share with other nations through treaties. Anyone, any agency or any entity that says anything else is lying. We named torture a crime because torture always was, is and remains forever wrong.
Torture has two purposes. Neither 'Gathering information' nor 'seeking truth' are one of those purposes. Information and truth is most often gathered the quickest and most accurately through a bit of kindness and being willing to listen. Relieving pain opens the mouth; where causing pain confirms we are monsters to be resisted.
Torture is designed to tear the words the desired words by torturer from the tortured through applied horror, terror and pain. Torture is about creating lies. Torture is about getting misinformation to be misused.
The true intent of covertly communicating torture practices is to controlling one's own population through the threat of potential horror, terror and pain being inflicted against them. It takes a certain kind of fear-filled little men to use their sadism to control a nation as great as America. Hiding the truth of their fear and animosity towards their own folk only perpetuates it. The horror of torture must be revealed to stop the disease that causes it: Fear.
Torture robs our humanity and makes us inhuman. Torture proves us unworthy. Torture is wrong before all gods and all of mankind.
The only way to make torture acceptable is to make fear acceptable and through intentional application of fear to make fear desirable; to make fear preferable to retaining our humanity. FDR and Thomas Jefferson remain correct in their assertions that the fearful have no access to freedom. There are those that happily steal our freedom through manipulating fear and unchecked threats to gain temporary control of us AND there are those that happily choose to fear and forgo freedom so others can gain control.
We are Americans. There is no fear worthy of trading this away, We need to remember this.
Sorry that should have been - H.R. 3200, Section 246
I don't know what I was more upset about, Obama's speech or the "analysis" by so many lefties and progressives that Obama "hit it out of the ballpark." After listening to your show yesterday, I realized that I was not crazy! I feel that Obama betrayed not only the grassroots, but the American people, by giving big insurance and big pharma everything they wanted--at our expense. He shrunk the public option down to a size (5%) where it can now be drowned in a bathtub (might as well use right-wing talking points for a right-wing plan). Obama's "public" option is not really public, and definitely not an option for the vast majority of Americans. Nor did he offer any other plan to curb price gouging. Thanks for your leadership on this issue--you have demonstrated more intelligence than most other "progressive" talk show hosts.
I don't know if it is still true but I remember reading that people in Wisconsin drink more alcohol per capita than any other state. In fact they were the first state to lower the drinking age to 18 back in 1972. Cricket spitting? Figures.
Here is Eric Cantor's blog http://www.ericcantor.com/blog/?p=366&cpage=1#comment-85803
Give him a piece of your mind!
Yes, I was there and was a beneficiary of the 18-year-old drinking age at the time (even tho I didn't drink back then.) At that time, WI colleges were categorized (by students) by how close the bars were to the campuses (i.e., the top "drinking schools.") 'Don't know about current stats, either, but WI has been leader in most alcohol comsumption for quite some time. I wonder if it's all the Germans (myself included) --- beer in Milwaukee and Oktoberfest in La Crosse, etc.
Oops, s.b. "consumption"
what is the ceo of a health care insurance company? he's a saleman and they have sold are country a bag of lies. when has a car saleman made l.7 billion dollars? we need reform and to get that we need choices. a public option would give me and everyone else a chance to have health care. If the health insurance industry wants to be fair, why don't they start giving refunds to the families that don't use their insurance in a month....give the monthly bill back they didn't use so why keep their money.
Thanks for the Eric Cantor link. I may use it (tho my husband always says there's no point in arguing with an idiot.)
When are progressives going to realize that the purpose of insurance companies is not to provide insurance bt it is to amass money to invest for its stockholders? No one is entitled to insurance. The debate should be about increasing entitlement. Basic health care should be a right and paid for by the federal government. There is no reason for insurance companies to be involved at all in basinc health care delivery...
'Love your brief music "tidbits" you always leave us with after the show is over!
Re: "You can get a little of the flavor of this by reading the poster these southerners put out against Lincoln at the time"
'Cannot verify poster as originating in the 19th century. However, it does express Southern conservative anti-Lincoln attitudes.
Wisconsin was a ten minute drive over the Mississippi River when I was 17years old and the drinking age dropped. I had reasonable facial hair so I went to a place called Bob's Recreation, which was a modest roadhouse near the state lines. I plopped down on a stool and ordered a beer and a shot of peppermint schnapps. A Wisconsin Highway patrolman sat down a stool away. I turned and asked : "officer can I buy you one?" He thanked me and said he was just stopping for a quick coffee. I chugged the beer and shot and beat a hast retreat back over the bridge. I waited the few more months to turn 18 before returning to cheddar-land. They are good people there. After all, they elected Russ Feingold.
Here is the last paragraph from Rabbi Michael Lerner's recent article in the Tikkun Magazine.
Liberals and progressives who feel that they have already compromised too much by giving up on "Medicare For All" and embracing a watered-down Public Option are right to resist Obama's pressure to drop that public option-not because no good could possibly be achieved without it, but because the ideas underlying the dropping of a public option are the same ideas that inevitably lead us to the militarist/domination worldview, to environmental irresponsibility, and to a health care system that will continue to privilege profits over human needs. And that is why Centrist politics appears so incoherent and self-contradictory and unable to relieve the suffering moderates like Obama genuinely desire to heal.
Do Americans really care about our soldiers' mental health?
The Lone Vote!
Barbare Lee reminds me of a profile in courage. I recall John F. Kennedy's book, "Profiles in Courage." Courage is important for leadership. Courage for me does mean the slaughter of God's chilren.
From the first paragraph of the above article!
As we rightfully remember September 11th, 2001 and the tragedies of that day for the United States, my thoughts also move forward to September 14th of that same year and a courageous but lone vote made by Rep. Barbara Lee to oppose the use of violent force in retaliation. In explanation Lee said, “There must be some of us who say, let’s step back for a moment and think through the implications of our actions today — let us more fully understand its consequences… Far too many innocent people have already died.” This voice of reason was drowned out by a country ready to proceed with the fervor of a Holy War. The voice was outnumbered 420 to 1.
A Country Named Job
I am writing this letter for people who may have read the Bible. In the Bible there is in the Old Testament, the Book of Job. Job lived about 500 or 600 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. It was also around the time that God was not pleased with His people. God has given everything to the people and they were not listening to Him. They were not willing to help one another and their lives were very sinful. God was going to destroy the earth.
For some reason God was going to give the world another chance. He was going to test the world with one person and that person was Job. Job was a man of prayer and he would also praise God. God blessed Job with wealth, land, property, and family. God slowly started to take away what He had given to Job. Job still prayed and praised God. A neighbor came by one day and he talked to Job. He said to Job that God was punishing Job and Job still prayed and praised God. How could Job continue to love God? Job said to his neighbor that it was God’s will and God knows best.
God was so moved by Job’s words and loyalty that He spared the earth from destruction. Job’s behavior silenced God. God would speak only one more time. God spoke at Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River. “This is my son in whom I am well pleased.”
From Jesus’ death to the present we keep hearing that God works in mysterious ways. With God there are no surprises. No, God does not work in mysterious ways. He has given us His son and the words of Jesus. Our problem is that we refuse to listen to God’s son and His words. God has been testing the world through the United States of America. God has not chosen a person; He has chosen a country. The United States of America is now the Job of the New Testament.
Job, the country, has failed every test. Job, the country, holds steadfastly to hatred and lies. She has also embraced murders and war crimes. She has also turned her back on God and God’s son, Jesus. Christianity is no longer Job’s religion. Job and the country’s beauty believe that they are better than God. Like Lucifer, the most beautiful of God’s angels, Job believes that God is not needed and the axis of evil is better than God. Job’s axis of evil clings to money, nuclear weapons, and false prophets.
Job, the country, will also bring down the rest of world and its population. Job has failed God and her destruction and the world’s destruction are imminent.
Inside the Mind of Joe Wilson!
Why are the white crazies so nervous?
America is changing!!!
The whites were suppose to be in the minority by 2040. Now the time is 2025. Yes, we will be in the minority.
Islam will be the majority religion by 2070 or 2080. Yes, America is changing. The Nazi Party (GOP) and the Stupid Party (Dems) cannot stop these trends. That is why we see more white crazies surfacing in fascist-Nazi America. Maybe the Hispanics and Muslims can create a better America? Time will tell us the answer.
After listening to the end of the Great Healthcare Debate, I was spurred to write an article on my blog ( http://cindik.com/spirituality/trans-cendental/2009/09/why-for-profit-in... ) about "Why For-Profit Insurance Doesn't Work for Health Care".
1) Health care insurance is not like auto accident insurance. Both sides use this comparison and it is faulty. Health care insurance is more like an extended warranty or maintenance agreement.
2) The very same forces that encourage providers to increase quality an decrease price as a way to compete for frequent customers works *backwards* for insurance, particularly health insurance. It is profitable to reduce the frequent customers, so cost can go up and quality/service down for the sickest among us.
More at my post at http://cindik.com/spirituality/trans-cendental/2009/09/why-for-profit-in...
I made a grave error. I should have said, COURAGE DOES NOT MEAN THE SLAUGHTER OF GOD'S CHILDREN. I believe that I have omitted the word, "NOT" between does mean. Now I feel better with that correction.
We had our sons over for breakfast, September 13, 2009. We sat and we talked about our country. We were in agreemnet that our country is deeply embedded with hatred and lies.
You do not have to believe me but hatred and lies eat away at the soul and it destroys our souls. At some point our souls will be damned in this life as preparation for the next life.