Archive for September, 2009

HOW MUCH WILL THE OBAMA PUBLIC OPTION COST?

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

How can Americans be so ignorant? For Americans who choose it, the public option will cost the same amount as what MY HEALTH INSURANCE COST S TODAY! My health insurance has been entrusted to Kaiser Permanente Health Insurance for 50 years and it is the same health insurance carried by most people (millions) in Southern California; the cost of the public option will be the same because Kaiser Permanente Insurance is a NON PROFIT CORPORATION. The public option probably will be less because costs will be determined by a bigger base.

Kaiser Permanente is in the health care business to provide health care for people and not in business to make a profit. The quality of my health care is not dependent on whether or not it is profitable to my health insurance provider. Profit making health insurance companies are in business to make a profit by proving health care for people as cheaply as they possibly can, to provide the greatest margin of profit for the company (just like Wal-Mart); if a premium payer is at risk to profits, they are dropped.

It is time for the American people to decide if they want health care solely to provide health care or health care designed to make the largest possible margin of profit for the carrier; the Obama plan and the public option is simply to give all Americans the choice that those of us in Southern California enjoy.

The public option is no more socialist than public schools.

AMERICA DESERVES UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE TODAY!

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

The time is now for America to have a 21st Century universal health care plan like every other Western civilized nation. Every American requires health care and will have to pay for it; with universal health care everyone will have it and the cost will ultimately be the same or less. Universal health care is no more Communist than the Post Office, Medicare, or public schools. Every other Western democracy except America already has it; universal medical care is only opposed by those greedy American corporations that profit from the costly status quo. Be actively democratic and tell your elected politicians that you want universal medical care for America. It is the only way for all of us to have quality medical care without exorbitant costs.

AMERICAN HEALTH CARE BASED ON A SWISS MODEL

Friday, September 18th, 2009

A friend recently sent me a Washington Post, Matt Miller article, “Why Liberals Should Drop the Public Option”, that featured the Swiss universal health care plan, which uses private health insurance companies exclusively and is successful and economic; my friend, who knew I lived in Switzerland for 5 years asked, “Is this true?” Here is my response:

You ask, is this true?

Since you asked, I will say that I am not particularly impressed with Matt Miller’s article; I don’t really know what makes him an expert on universal medical care but I am not impressed with his reasoning.

When I lived in Switzerland, I was required to be insured by law in order to validate my resident visa (before they would issue the visa).  I could buy any approved plan from any insurance company in Switzerland.  I bought a plan like I have now at Kaiser Permanente (using their doctors, etc.) except that Kaiser is a nonprofit corporation and my Swiss insurance company was a for profit corporation to my knowledge.  I used the benefits a number of times, for gout, flu, pneumonia, tranquillizers and such and I never paid any copayments.  I had a number of prescriptions filled and never paid for a prescription.  My premium from 2000 to 2005 was 75 Swiss Francs/month.  I liked the Swiss doctors (2 different ones) better than most of the ones that I had in America and was quite satisfied with the quality of care in Switzerland.

After I moved back to the USA and I was visiting Switzerland, I got pneumonia while there and went to my same old doctor (a wonderful female doctor) and she treated me, sent me a bill me since I had no insurance, and I paid her company the actual costs of care (much less than if I had been in the USA).

Now, I must say that I did approve of the Swiss system.  The insurance companies are rigorously controlled by the government and take pride in providing affordable care.  Doctors and patients are happy with it.  But Swiss insurance companies are not at all like American insurance companies; Swiss health care insurance companies are trustworthy and regulated.  American corporations are notorious for violating regulations when they had regulations and when the American corporations were not regulated, they chose to violate the law.  This is simply a historic fact: Aetna, Enron, etc.; check the lawsuits.

In America, when I retired, I received a golden handshake including an annuity for life (purchased from National Life Insurance Company) and the holder of the annuity went bankrupt; it does not pay to have faith in corporate America.

The Swiss do not worry about socialization.  Their post office is more than a post office; it is a bank, a bus company, a post office, and it used to have the nationalized telephone system.  The Swiss trains are nationalized and they have a fantastic railroad and public transportation system; we had a car in Switzerland and I never drove it, in five years.  SwissAir was a national airline and the Swiss, following the America trend, privatized it and the mismanaged airline went bankrupt.  Swisscom, the national telephone company, is now forced to compete with private companies and it is a mess just like America’s; everyone I knew used Swisscom the government phone system.

So what I am saying is that the Swiss could have a government run health care system and no one would worry about it being socialistic and in Switzerland, the Swiss trust and respect the government and also keep a close eye on it because hell hath no fury like a Swiss angry at the government.  The Swiss post office and train system break their butts to be helpful to the people because they work for the people; it is their work ethic..  But that is Swiss culture and nothing like American culture where everyone seems to hate the government and call it names like liar, fascist, communist, oddly enough only when it isn’t.  The Swiss privatized health care system works because the insurance companies are ethical and trustworthy and regulated.

The Swiss privatized health care plan won’t work in America because the problem now is that many of the largest insurance companies have a tendency to be criminal (look at the lawsuits that health insurance companies like Aetna, have lost) and cannot be trusted and patients have had to sue the insurance company to get their benefits.  Plus too many American corporations are basically corrupt and going bankrupt every day and it is the employees and small stock holders and clients, in this case health insurance policy holders, who get screwed. If a health care insurance company in America goes broke, it is going to be the policy holders who get screwed.

When America’s Constitutional forefathers instituted the US Postal System, it was because they believed that communication was too important to trust to private companies (note the 10th Amendment was not a barrier to the U.S. Postal Service and why should it be a factor in universal health care). Would someone please inform the Republicans of this.

The Swiss health care insurance companies work more like the old American “public corporations” than purely privatized health care.  A “public Corporation” is when a corporation like AT&T in the old days, is given a monopoly by the government and then is carefully regulated and profits are regulated by the government, like America’s telephones used to be.  When the government deregulated and broke up AT&T, it was AT&T who was all for it; that should give you some idea of who the breakup benefitted.

Obama is trying to implement something like the Swiss universal health care program but with a government option to set the standard.  Personally, I don’t trust American corporations in the way I trusted Swiss corporations.  The difference is this:

Swiss corporations are organized to perform services and make a reasonable profit doing so. American corporations are organized to make a profit and provide services as cheaply as possible to maximize profits, Wal-Mart style.

Another difference is the cultures.  To the Swiss, being professional and admired for it is considered superior to being wealthy.  In America it is the other way around, CEOs are honored (with bonuses?) based on income generated.

The Swiss are finding out the hard way that when they accept and try to duplicate American ideas, it can destroy their institutions.  That is what happened to Swiss Air, the Swiss national airline; the Swiss were proud of their nationalized airline. Then they partially privatized it and it went broke because of mismanagement. Swiss Air was replaced by a privatized Swiss International Airline; Swiss International has been bought out by Luftansa, the German nationalized  Airline.  The Swiss no longer have a national airline.

Matt Miller is only considering the outward appearances of Swiss Universal Health Care.  The only reason the Swiss are organized that way is because it works for them in their culture; with the Swiss, they could care less whether it is privatized or nationalized so long as it works for the people.  (And, the national pastime for the Swiss is complaining; the squeaky wheel gets the oil.).  The people rule; Swiss are not chauvinistic but the Swiss are exceedingly patriotic and trust their government. In contrast, Americans think their government is untrustworthy, inept, and cannot provide affordable medical care.

The Swiss have national referendums on everything.  America does not have national referendums, though could at times profit from national referendums. For example, in 2008, a pseudo referendum took place when a vast majority of Americans voted for Democrats who promised health care reform; America is still struggling to get health care reform. If the Swiss vote for something in a national referendum, it is done immediately.

Sorry, I wrote a book and you wanted a simple answer but the answer is not simple.

THE RACIST AMERICA OF RUSH LIMBAUGH

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Just wondering if you had read this bit by Limbaugh and if not, why not.

One thing is certain, this is America in the new Twenty-First Century, whether you like it or not. I don’t like it. If every American does not speak up now, like Nazi Germany, in a little while it will be too late. The Rush Limbaughs of America are a minority in America but they are pretenders to be the expressions of a majority. Rush Limbaugh insists he loves America and that he represents America and the Republican Party; he and Fox News. Is this the new Republican Party? Certainly the Republican Party has never complained about Limbaugh or disowned Limbaugh or Fox News. An American democratic Republic cannot afford a Limbaugh Republican Party, no democracy can.

This is serious and I am sorry but I cannot tolerate good Americans who say that they can’t stand ‘that kind of thing’ and they don’t want to read about it or hear about it; in fact, they don’t want to do anything about it, not even wring their hands. Think about it! If the real American majority does not speak up, our nation is doomed.

Here is the latest from Limbaugh:

September 16, 2009

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/16/rush-limbaugh-obamas-amer_n_288371.html

Rush Limbaugh: “Obama’s America – White Kids Get Beat Up With The Black Kids Cheering” Huffpost – Rush Limbaugh: “Obama’s America – White Kids Get Beat Up With The Black Kids Chee

Huffington Post |  Nicholas Graham
Rush Limbaugh couldn’t resist trying to connect the brutal beating of one student by another on a school bus to President Obama, using it as an example of how Obama is somehow causing racism throughout the U.S.:

You put your kids on a school bus you expect safety but in Obama’s America the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering ‘yeah, right on, right on, right on.’ Of course everybody said the white kid deserved it he was born a racist, he’s white.

In fact it would be Limbaugh who seems to have the racial hangup. The St. Louis-Dispatch reports that the beating was not racially motivated, as a Belleville police captain had originally speculated, but was instead incited by a pretty common dispute on school buses: choice of seating.

WAS IT SOMETHING THE REPUBLICANS SAID? OBAMA’S HEALTH CARE REFORM SPEECH!

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Here is the short form commentary of Obama’s health care speech.

He said, listen, you knucklehead Democratic Congressmen, you were elected along with me in a landslide election in 2008, specifically to enact Universal health care and reform for America and to see to it that health care insurance companies quit screwing over your constituents. If insurance companies are going to do business in America they cannot be allowed to deny their clientele health benefits when they need them most nor deny people with preexisting conditions coverage. If insurance companies are not going to provide insurance for every and any American that needs it, then this government cannot allow those companies to do business in America.

The people of America must be allowed to choose their own insurance company and type of policy, under those regulatory conditions. Americans should also be allowed a public option, a competing and strictly government policy, for anyone who needs coverage and cannot get a better plan from a private company that is accessible to them; the government option policy would not be subsidized. It is as simple as that!

Republican Congressmen, who want to retain the status quo, need to quit spreading lies about the proposed health care plan just to defeat legislation that the American people want, need, and voted for; the President intends to call the liars out!

If you don’t want any credit for health care reform, fine, vote against it and next election run on your record and win enough votes in Congress to repeal health care reform. Put up or shut up! Don’t ever say you want health care reform but not Obama’s health care reform, unless you can propose something better.

The debate is officially over; this is the package; Congress needs to vote it up or down and face their voters in 2010.

President Obama ‘took off the gloves’ to deal with Republicans and their lies, explained to Americans why the Obama proposed health care reform is good for them and necessary, what the reform will provide, and assured Americans that they can keep whatever insurance that they have except that legislation will assure them that they will be covered and their benefits will be guaranteed by statute. The President also said he would veto any plan that increased the national deficit.

The Republican Congressmen reacted in their typical manner, with Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina heckling the President by shouting out “you lie” in the middle of the President’s address. However, the official Republican response was made by Congressman Charles Boustany of Louisiana who obviously had not heard President Obama’s speech; Congressman Boustany is also a physician and heart surgeon who questioned President Obama’s Hawaiian birth, once tried to establish himself as royalty in the UK, and has personally experienced medical malpractice suits; in other words, Boustany is a typical Republican Congressman. Consider yourself fortunate if you have a healthy heart that doesn’t require surgery.

FROM THE DAILY NEWS ON SEPTEMBER 9, 2009

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Headline: “Only 12% of Borrowers Helped Under White House Foreclosure Plan”; actually, who knew that anyone was planning to foreclose on the White House.

Headline: “Women Accused Of Gluing Man’s Penis to Stomach Must Stand Trial”; probably, it is it reasonable to presume that the man cannot stand, at all, trial or not.

Headline: “Marred Afghan Vote Leaves U.S. in a Delicate Spot”; presumably, the US dilemma is embarrassment about Bush, Florida, and the Supreme Court in 2000?

Headline: “Hate Your Body? 3 Steps Toward Learning To Love It”; in reality, this sounds dangerous.

Headline: “Dems’ Health Plan Half As Costly As Bush Tax Cuts”; explanation necessary, is this good or bad news?

Headline: “Top 1 Percent Of Americans Reaped Two-Thirds Of Income Gains in Last Economic Expansion”; hey 99% of Americans, just forget the new high definition TV set.

Headline: “Gibbs, On Fox News, Criticizes Fox For Showing Dance Reality Show Instead of Obama’s Speech”; Hmmm, reality versus reality, dance versus dance, tough choice!

YOU ARE GETTING SCREWED; AMERICA NEEDS HEALTH CARE REFORM

Friday, September 4th, 2009

How do you get screwed in your health care?

Let me count the ways.

For goodness sake, know what you are talking about.  Try this Washington Post article:  In Settlement, A Warning to Drugmakers; Pfizer to Pay Record Penalty in Improper Marketing Case.

The link is:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/02/AR2009090201449.html

And try to imagine how much Pfitzer gave in campaign contributions to Congressmen for them to stop health care reform.  How much of your paid premiums are spent paying this penalty and paying Congressmen to oppose the proposed health care reform.  What makes more sense, reading this article about health care fraud or protesters toting assault rifles to disrupt health care reform meetings?

WHY POLITICOS IN WASHINGTON DC AND ALL AMERICANS SHOULD FEEL UNEASY ABOUT THEIR NICE LITTLE FORGOTTEN WAR IN AFGHANISTAN

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

This is an incredible story. The minds of the America people, today, are being filled with images of opponents of universal health care, wielding assault rifles to disrupt civil discussions of the issues of health care and while Americans are waging this civil war over the health care of its citizens, the people of America have forgotten that American and foreign troops are fighting and dying in Afghanistan every day, for absolutely no discernable purpose. Eight years ago on September 11, 2001, America suffered a heinous attack by terrorists who were avenging the highly questionable American military intrusion into Muslim Holy Land in Saudi Arabia ten years earlier; the tragedy of the terrorist attack on America was planned and carried out by a Saudi citizen, Osama bin Laden, who at the time was hiding out in the wilds of war ravaged Afghanistan that was still devastated from a previous Soviet invasion and withdrawal. The sovereign Afghan nation, however, had no part in the terrorist attack on America September 11th in 2001.

America in 2001 was solemnly going through the motions of inaugurating a President who ascended to the Presidency because five extremist US Supreme Court Justices made a political decision to stop the counting of votes in Florida’s Presidential Election of 2000, thereby awarding those electoral votes and the Presidency to the Republican candidate, who had only a minority of the national popular vote. The new American President in 2001 was a recovering alcoholic with an undistinguished academic career who had sought refuge from being sent to the Viet Nam War by joining the Texas National Guard, where he never fully fulfilled his responsibility. The new President of the United States, prior to ascending to the Presidency, had served as governor of the State of Texas where he distinguished himself as governor by executing more criminals than any other governor in America. The inauguration of the President of the United States in 2001 was not a particularly joyous one for a majority of American voter who had cast their votes for the new President’s opponent; there was not a lot to celebrate.

As fate would have it, the vile terrorist, Osama bin Laden, would test the inadequacy of the new President early in his term. The new President was warned of the impending terrorist attack by American Home Security, while vacationing on his ranch, a month before the attack and soon after his inauguration. He evidently placed the responsibility for reaction on his newly appointed National Security Advisor, a former dean of Stanford University, who testified later that “there was nothing more that America could do to fend off terrorist attack”.

The terrorist attack on America on September 11, 2001, destroying the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon Building in Washington DC cost about three thousand lives and was a shocking tragedy for Americans and the world community.

The new President George W. Bush, at that fateful hour, was reading a book to elementary students in a public school classroom in Texas and for the rest of that day and night his where-about was unknown for security reasons; America appeared leaderless. However, when President Bush did appear on the scene he immediately responded to the American tragedy in a typical abrasive “John Wayne manner” announcing that he wanted the perpetrator, Osama bin Laden, “dead or alive”. To accomplish this, America would invade Afghanistan for the purpose of apprehending Osama bin Laden; unfortunately at about the same time, Osama bin Laden wisely departed from Afghanistan. As a consequence, America invaded and occupied the sovereign nation of Afghanistan in 2001 to apprehend Osama bin Laden who has not been in Afghanistan since 2001, and America is still in Afghanistan fighting Taliban forces there who would like to exert their own control over Afghanistan.

Though America was supported by some other foreign entities in the American invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, America invaded without a declaration of war which is a violation of International Law that America had approved through international treaty. President Bush’s rationale for the invasion was that any nation that harbors terrorists, as he claimed Afghanistan did, was just as guilty of terrorist attack as the terrorists themselves. Not everyone agreed with President Bush’s rationale, since very country, is would seem, has been guilty of harboring terrorists of some kind for some reason, including America. Without a Declaration of War against Afghanistan by the Congress of the United States, the war itself lacks some official sanction by the people.

There have been a multitude of issues in America since the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan in 2001 and President Bush is now no longer President of the United States. The policy of the new President of the United States in 2009, Barack Hussein Obama, has been clearly stated; President Obama intends to continue to pursue the apprehension of Osama bin Laden, who obviously is still not in Afghanistan although American and NATO troops are in Afghanistan and continue occupying that nation. There are rumors and claims of American intervention in Pakistan from Afghanistan, in efforts to destroy Taliban and bin Laden and his loyalists hiding in Pakistan, however the American war and occupation of Afghanistan is becoming more and more difficult to defend, morally and rationally.

America has some other behavior that is difficult to justify in its management international affairs. Eight years ago as a prelude to invading Afghanistan, America “carpet bombed” Afghanistan using B-52 bombers and incendiary and anti-personnel cluster bombs, when America was well aware that there were actually no viable military targets anywhere in already war devastated Afghanistan; tens of thousands of innocent civilian men, women, and children were killed and maimed by incendiary and cluster bombs. Objections were noted by other nations and particularly Muslim nations because Afghans are primarily Muslim and America’s reputation as a primarily Christian and a humane and compassionate nation was seriously questioned. A number of America’s Christian religious leaders have been quoted making disparaging remarks about people of the Muslim faith since bin Laden’s terrorist attack. The occupation of Afghanistan and the subsequent totally needless American invasion and occupation of Iraq that included the “shock and awe bombing” of Iraq and the killing and maiming of even thousands more of Muslims, has taken a severe toll on American eminence in the world’s community of nations. Then, there is the continuing scandal of America torturing and killing of prisoners of war and detaining them for years without any hearing of any kind in violation of International Law.

It appears to be absolutely ludicrous for America to continue its forgotten war in Afghanistan. The whole purpose of vengeance against Osama bin Laden has become meaningless in time and in retrospect America is not looking good at all by world standards. There is noting to achieve in Afghanistan except now less meaningful vengeance; it is time for America to decide if vengeance for bin Laden’s attack is truly worth the monetary cost and the desecration of America’s other national values of compassion, fraternity, equality, and world peace. It is time for America to re-consider the comparative values of the power of war and the power of peace.