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Project 5 to 5: My Personalized Chain Letter To "Kill the Bill" -- FWIW!

I AM SENDING THIS EMAIL TO AT LEAST FIVE FRIENDS AND ASKING THAT THEY CONTACT AT LEAST FIVE GOVERNMENT REPS TO KILL THE HEALTH CARE BILL:

Subject line: PROJECT FIVE (friends) TO FIVE (Congress people): from libbyliberal asking for help to kill the “mockery of democracy” health care bill being rammed through Congress

Dear friend:

I am writing to ask that you take action now if you also feel distrust and a sense of betrayal from our government that is and has been obscenely serving the needs of mega-corporations at the expense of its citizenry. A government that could have and should have accomplished REAL health care solutions -- empathetic and encompassing reform -- for the serious plight of us Americans.

I am asking that you contact within this very busy week at least 5 governmental leaders to protest this bill which will be hailed if it passes by corporate bribed leaders and a corporate owned and enabling media as “historic” when it is a betrayal, what Matt Taibbi calls a “mockery of democracy”. I am asking that you forward or rework this email to five or more of your acquaintances to ask for their help, also.

I am writing today to “kill the bill”, though it breaks my heart to be on the same side as those bottom-feeding, obstructionist Republicans in our Congress, who did all they could for political reasons (in the name of gamesmanship) to block an authentic and empathetic discussion to reform our broken health care system and silence the few, courageous Democratic voices seriously working to help working America.

Both legacy parties have betrayed us and are continuing to. We are coming up on another horrifying “bail-out” of the perpetrators of our problems in America, the mega-corporations. The top 1% wealthy elite are steadily worsening the lives of the incredibly lower 90% of us! Those who should be protecting us from this travesty are enabling them. Are selling out for their own financial profit and amoral career ambitions.

We as citizens need to rally against these oligarchs who are ferociously worsening our lives and our democracy, stealing from our revenue, stripping us of our human and constitutional rights and protections.

Dr. Howard Dean has declared the current Senate health care reform bill will prove a bigger bail-out than AIG. I also see the bill as a Trojan horse that will cause more problems than it solves.

Polls have indicated for some time that 64% of Americans want a single payer Medicare for All system for universal health care (universal coverage that every other industrial nation besides the US guarantees as a human right to its entire citizenry), and this high percentage expands to a hefty 76% of Americans who want at the very least a system that includes a “public option” as a “starter system” to reduce costs of commercial insurance and pharmaceuticals and puts us on a road to universal health care.

Why are our President and Congress and our media IGNORING AND DEFYING the mandate of the people? Obama removed the idea of a single payer system from the table immediately. Congress concurred. Yet it is the only system that is humane, universal and fiscally sustainable and practical.

Why is the corporate media treating this vast majority of citizens as a “fringe” group, and not taking its needs, desires and common sense seriously?

It seems the President and the Congress have stopped regarding the citizens as their oath-committed-to constituents and are now protecting the profits of the mega-corporations who have obscenely lobby-bribed them with campaign financing funding at the damaging and even devastating expense of citizens (45,000 citizens die each year from inadequate health care). We must channel our outrage and take action before another major betrayal like the TARP befalls us! It is now the eleventh hour before this next disaster will strike.

Please skim over and consider the arguments and insights regarding the bill being rammed through the Senate this week at the back of and linked to this email. (Please watch and listen to the upcoming corporate media and the public relations assertions about the “historic nature” and benefits of this current bill with a HUGE GRAIN OF SALT.)

Please considering doing the following in the next 24 hours ... and as often as you can thereafter:

Contact five (or however many senators you can reach in the next 24 hours, or after this time, senators and/or representatives and/or the President) to “kill the bill” and register your protest over a grossly inadequate and unaffordable health care system being arranged by a President and Congress selling out real needs of Americans for campaign financing cronyism once again from mega-corporations.

Toll-free switchboard numbers for the Senate and House: 1-800-828-0498, 1-866-338-1015, 1-866-220-0044.

Contact info for Senators or Representatives here:
http://www.contactingthecongress.org/

To send letters:

Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

or

House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

ALSO, please forward all or part of this email, with your name in the subject line and any comment you would care to add (you might want to share what actions you yourself are taking) to the email to five friends or acquaintances (or however many you can) who are likely to feel proactive, concerned and patriotic enough to also help “kill the bill”.

There are 300 million of us citizens. Nader once declared if one out of every 300 citizens followed up on his or her outrage at having their quality of life and that of their children's and their children’s children doomed by a broken government system, we could begin a counter cultural movement to heal this dear country. To shift it from a deadly patriarchal, power and competition paradigm, to a humanist one of partnership and cooperation. The “common good” would be a priority with our leadership, the “public trust” would mean something.

Please join this vital fight now. As the adage goes, if we are not part of the solution, we are part of the problem. And consider Edmund Burke’s powerful message, also, about how evil prevails when good people do nothing.

I thank you! Best, libby

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THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME THOUGHTS AND INSIGHTS ABOUT THE PRESENT HEALTH CARE REFORM FIASCO:

For a long while I have been advocating Single Payer Medicare for All as a sane and affordable system for America. A good explanation of the benefits of Single Payer Plan is spelled out on the PNHP website (Physicians for a National Health Program). This is the ideal system our Congress and President are NOT providing for us.

http://www.pnhp.org/facts/single_payer_resources.php

“Single-payer national health insurance is a system in which a single public or quasi-public agency organizes health financing, but delivery of care remains largely private.

[snip]

The reason we spend more and get less than the rest of the world is because we have a patchwork system of for-profit payers. Private insurers necessarily waste health dollars on things that have nothing to do with care: overhead, underwriting, billing, sales and marketing departments as well as huge profits and exorbitant executive pay. Doctors and hospitals must maintain costly administrative staffs to deal with the bureaucracy. Combined, this needless administration consumes one-third (31 percent) of Americans’ health dollars.

The article continues that more than $350 billion per year could be saved on paperwork alone. This could provide our comprehensive coverage.

Under a single-payer system, all Americans would be covered for all medically necessary services, including: doctor, hospital, preventive, long-term care, mental health, reproductive health care, dental, vision, prescription drug and medical supply costs. Patients would regain free choice of doctor and hospital, and doctors would regain autonomy over patient care.

Physicians would be paid fee-for-service according to a negotiated formulary or receive salary from a hospital or nonprofit HMO / group practice. Hospitals would receive a global budget for operating expenses. Health facilities and expensive equipment purchases would be managed by regional health planning boards.

The PNHP article asserts that modest new taxes would replace premiums and out of pocket payments now being paid by individuals and business. That cost could be controlled “through negotiated fees, global budgeting and bulk purchasing.” Administrative costs of billing, marketing, especially high executive pay, and ever-rising profits are now absorbing 1/3 of health care dollars from the patient.

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http://pnhp.org/news/2009/december/pro-single-payer-physicians-call-for-defeat-of-senate-health-bill

HERE ARE SOME OBJECTIONS MADE THIS WEEK FROM THE PNHP:

“While noting that the Senate bill includes some “salutary provisions” like an expansion of Medicaid, increased funding for community clinics and the curbing of some of the worst practices of the private insurance industry, the group says the negatives in the bill outweigh the positives.

The negatives, the group says, include the individual mandate requiring that people buy private insurance policies, large government subsidies to private insurers, new restrictions on abortion, the unfair taxing of high-cost health plans, and cuts of $43 billion in Medicare payments to safety-net hospitals. Moreover, at least 23 million people will remain uninsured when the plan finally takes effect, they said.

“We have concluded that the Senate bill’s passage would bring more harm than good,” the group said in a statement signed by its president, Dr. Oliver Fein, and two co-founders, Drs. David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler.

Addressing the Senate in an open letter, they write: “We ask that you defeat the bill currently under debate, and immediately move to consider the single-payer approach – an expanded and improved Medicare-for-All program – which prioritizes the advancement of our nation’s health over the enhancement of private, profit-seeking interests.”

[snip]

the individual mandate – that would reinforce private insurers’ stranglehold on care. Those who dislike their current employer-sponsored coverage would be forced to keep it. Those without insurance would be forced to pay private insurers’ inflated premiums, often for coverage so skimpy that serious illness would bankrupt them. And the $476 billion in new public funds for premium subsidies would all go to insurance firms, buttressing their financial and political power, and rendering future reform all the more difficult.

Some paint the Senate bill as a flawed first step to reform that will be improved over time, citing historical examples such as Social Security. But where Social Security established the nidus of a public institution that grew over time, the Senate bill proscribes any such new public institution. Instead, it channels vast new resources – including funds diverted from Medicare – into the very private insurers who caused today’s health care crisis. Social Security’s first step was not a mandate that payroll taxes which fund pensions be turned over to Goldman Sachs!

While the fortification of private insurers is the most malignant aspect of the bill, several other provisions threaten harm to vulnerable patients, including:

* The bill’s anti-abortion provisions would restrict reproductive choice, compromising the health of women and adolescent girls.

* The new 40 percent tax on high-cost health plans – deceptively labeled a “Cadillac tax” – would hit many middle-income families. The costs of group insurance are driven largely by regional health costs and the demography of the covered group. Hence, the tax targets workers in firms that employ more women (whose costs of care are higher than men’s), and older and sicker employees, particularly those in high-cost regions such as Maine and New York.

* The bill would drain $43 billion from Medicare payments to safety-net hospitals, threatening the care of the 23 million who will remain uninsured even if the bill works as planned. These threatened hospitals are also a key resource for emergency care, mental health care and other services that are unprofitable for hospitals under current payment regimes. In many communities, severely ill patients will be left with no place to go – a human rights abuse.

* The bill would leave hundreds of millions of Americans with inadequate insurance – an “actuarial value” as low as 60 percent of actual health costs. Predictably, as health costs continue to grow, more families will face co-payments and deductibles so high that they preclude adequate access to care. Such coverage is more akin to a hospital gown than to a warm winter coat.”

**************************

http://www.correntewire.com/kill_bill_nine_reasons

THIS IS A LIST OF 9 REASONS TO KILL THE BILL FROM MY FRIEND, LETSGETITDONE AT CORRENTE:

“1) The bill gives almost no real help 'til 2014. In the short term, the bill does nothing about the fatalities, bankruptcies, and foreclosures that come from lack of insurance. Therefore, the very title of the bill -- "The Affordable Health Choices Act" --is a lie, despite band-aids for children and young adults, because the bill doesn't get people care in the short run at an affordable price that will protect them from financial ruin.

2) The bill guarantees price-gouging through 2014. The bill doesn't address the problem of insurance company rate increases from 2010 'til 2014. Based on how the insurance companies have always behaved, we will see insurance premium increases from 50-75% in that time frame. That will increase the average annual cost of family coverage from the current $13,375 to $20,000-24,000.

3) The bill sells out women's reproductive choices. This is not something progressives should ever agree to, since it is a core principle of progressivism.

4) The bill forces people to buy a defective product. After 2014, the bill forces people to buy junk insurance they can't afford from private insurers. The subsidies don't do anything about high out-of-pocket costs, which will be great enough to drive middle class people into bankruptcies and foreclosure, especially since lifetime caps are still permitted. Further, the subsidies are not high enough to make insurance affordable except in the judgment of millionaire legislators who have no understanding of middle class family budgets. Worse, there are no enforcement mechanisms for the few regulatory changes that are made. (Note 2) And since the bill frames health insurance as a means-tested subsidy -- that is, as welfare -- the already inadequate subsidies will be under constant assault by conservatives (both D and R). (Note 1) And all that's before the insurance companies figure out new ways to game the system.

5) The bill will not cover 30 million additional people, as the access bloggers and career liberals keep repeating. The subsidies are not indexed to rising insurance costs, and therefore insurance even with subsidies will become increasingly unaffordable. In my view, it's doubtful that more than 15 million will be covered. Since US population will be increasing over time, we can expect the total number of uninsured to grow over time, so even after 2014 and taking into account the 15 million additional people covered, we will still be looking at 35 million uncovered, and 35,000 fatalities per year due to lack of insurance.

6) The mandate cannot be enforced. The IRS isn't really a very effective collector. It collects only a very small percentage of debts each year now. If there is widespread non-compliance with the mandates, the IRS won't be able to enforce them. In one way that's good. However, the IRS presence will be a constant irritant to people, and in addition, widespread non-compliance will increase the widespread disrespect and cynicism we already see with respect to our laws and their enforcement. Moreover, such enforcement as there will be cannot be done fairly or consistently.

7) The bill does not decrease the share of GDP being spent on health care. It's now about 17.5%. If GDP averages 3% growth over the next four years, which may not be the case if we have a double-dip recession, we're looking at health care costs outrunning GDP growth by probably about 7% per year. By 2014, health care expenditures could be about 22-23% of our economy, while other nations are still at 12% or so. This will make the US even more uncompetitive in international markets than we already are.

8) The bill facilitates the march of the American political system away from Democracy and toward Plutocracy. By failing to curb rising premium costs in the period up to 2014, the bill adds further to the income insurance companies can use to block further health care reform. So, it hurts the sustainability of health care reform and it's ability to gain strength over time. This highlights another progressive core principle violated by the bill. Every bill must be evaluated in terms of its political effect on democracy, and whether or not it facilitates the evolution of American democracy toward Plutocracy. Bills, like this one, whose effects will be to weaken rather than strengthen the sustainability of democracy, ought to be opposed in principle by progressives.

9) The political FAILout will kill real reform. In the short run, the bill makes it much more difficult to pursue real solutions to health care reform, because the elites and their enablers will whine about how hard they worked to pass this bill, and about how everyone should just wait until 2014 to see how things work out. In the longer run, the inflation in premium costs, the waiting period of four years while costs increase, and the actual experience of the system beginning in 2014, will all persuade people that it's useless to expect Government to help people with their problems. This bill is potentially a killer for progressive politics, if we let the Administration push us into the obvious wait-and-see posture that they expect from us.

In summary, we need to work as hard as we can to defeat this bill, and if we can't convince any Senators to kill it, then we have to come out of the box in January breathing fire about how bad it is, and how much it needs to be repealed before the elections of 2010, and replaced with enhanced Medicare for All.

NOTE 1: That is, the appropriate precedent for incremental change is not SS, as "progressives" keep telling us, but AFDC.

NOTE 2: The talking point that the bill will mandate that 85% of premiums be spent on actual health services means nothing unless there is enforcement, which there isn't. I'm guessing that the likelihood of the insurance companies opening their books to the Fed is the same as the banksters doing so: A big fat zero.

(This post began as a comment on a post by khin, was revised by lambert to sharpen up some of its points at correntewire, and was revised again by me for this posting. So, it's a serial collaboration.”

**************************************

http://www.jonathantasini.com/content/jonathan-tasini-statement-senate-health-care-reform-bill-i-would-vote-no

HERE ARE SOME INSIGHTS FROM JONATHAN TASINI, WHOM I INTEND TO WORK FOR IN HIS U.S. SENATE BID IN NEW YORK:

“The drumbeat about the long-term debt is continuing. But, we are not having a serious debate about the origins of the debt or its solutions. If you want to address the long-term debt, the only solution is a "Medicare For All" system that kills the private health insurance industry.

[snip]

I say this respectfully: the moment the Congress passed a bill that did not take seriously the economic facts--that only a "Medicare For All" option would relieve the economy of crushing health care costs--we were guaranteeing a transfer of health care costs and a huge debt burden...

[snip]

So, to conclude: our problem today is that we are not having a serious debate about priorities, and the actions we need to take if we had a set of priorities that were in sync with the vision to create a sustainable society.

We certainly can afford to make investments that expand our collective wealth--"wealth" being defined, in my view, a healthy planet--if we were not draining our Treasury for immoral and ill-advised military actions. We could easily fund education if we had a serious debate (which we did not have) about a $650 billion defense budget (which was just approved with almost no debate, in a bi-partisan fashion).

And we would not be talking about our long-term debt if we were on the verge of passing a health care bill that had as its priorities not a windfall for the health insurance industry and the continued rhetoric about the so-called "free market" but making sure everyone had health care and we REDUCED the cost of health care--for future generations.”

**************************

http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2009/12/21/10-reasons-to-kill-the-senate-bill/

HERE IS A L IST OF OBJECTIONS FROM JANE HAMSHER AND OTHER MEMBERS, AT FIREDOGLAKE, WHERE I HAVE CONTRIBUTED COMMENTS AND DIARIES THIS PAST YEAR. THERE IS A LINK TO A PETITION AT THE END TO SIGN TO “KILL THE BILL”:

Top 10 Reasons to Kill Senate Health Care Bill

“1. Forces you to pay up to 8% of your income to private insurance corporations — whether you want to or not.
2. If you refuse to buy the insurance, you’ll have to pay penalties of up to 2% of your annual income to the IRS.
3. Many will be forced to buy poor-quality insurance they can’t afford to use, with $11,900 in annual out-of-pocket expenses over and above their annual premiums.
4. Massive restriction on a woman’s right to choose, designed to trigger a challenge to Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court.
5. Paid for by taxes on the middle class insurance plan you have right now through your employer, causing them to cut back benefits and increase co-pays.
6. Many of the taxes to pay for the bill start now, but most Americans won’t see any benefits — like an end to discrimination against those with preexisting conditions — until 2014 when the program begins.
7. Allows insurance companies to charge people who are older 300% more than others.
8. Grants monopolies to drug companies that will keep generic versions of expensive biotech drugs from ever coming to market.
9. No re-importation of prescription drugs, which would save consumers $100 billion over 10 years.
10. The cost of medical care will continue to rise, and insurance premiums for a family of four will rise an average of $1,000 a year — meaning in 10 years, your family’s insurance premium will be $10,000 more annually than it is right now.

[snip]

The Senate bill isn’t a “starter home,” it’s a sink hole. It needs to die so something else can take its place. It doesn’t matter whether people are on the right or the left — once they understand the con job that’s about to be foist upon them, they agree. That’s why Harry Reid and President Obama are trying to jam it through as fast as they can, before people get wise. So email the list to your friends and family, tweet it and spread the word.”

Petition to kill the bill:
http://action.firedoglake.com/page/s/killthisbill?source=web&subsource=side
(you may have to access the website to access the petition)

**************************************

HERE ARE SOME EXCEPTS OF SOME DIARIES I HAVE WRITTEN ABOUT THE HEALTH CARE CRISIS IN THE PAST MONTHS:

http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/6075

THIS IS MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE:

Jesus Would Be An Advocate For A Universal Single Payer Plan by libbyliberal

“Jesus would be on the side of 2 out of 3 Americans who actually want a universal Single Payer Plan, though the U.S. corporate media bans any discussion of that, refuses to acknowledge that statistical reality. Just like most of our Congress and the administration pretend that that majority preference isn’t so. (It is crazymaking when those we trust ask us to deny reality.)

Our elected representatives took an oath to protect their constituents, but then it seems the vast majority of them took vast amounts of money from corporate lobbies to abandon that commitment. It’s been reported that the Democrats received $90 million and the Republicans $65 million from health care and pharmaceutical companies in the last election.

And now our betrayers, who regard such transactions as necessary S-O-P for political survival, are tap dancing fast, eagerly lip-servicing reform with the tease of a “public option,” as if that is remotely similar to the sturdy foundation of a true public health care system. As if that is remotely like what every other industrial nation has. As if that would raise us significantly from a disgraceful international ranking of 37th in terms of quality, or not, health care.

[snip]

There are four health care lobbyists per national representative. All that energy, attention and money to bribe, intimidate, seduce, disconnect our representatives from duty and integrity. The trustees of our democratic rights do all they can to ensure corporate profit-making at our expense, but later spin and tweak reality to present the illusion of effort and public concern.

Jesus would not have taken the money. Jesus would know the difference between morality and amoral opportunism. Amoral pragmatism. Jesus wouldn’t have abided self-aggrandizing corporatists. Jesus raged at the money lenders in the temple.

Jesus would care that 60 [more recent research has since revealed 120] people a day die in America because they cannot afford health care.

Jesus would care that there is one person going bankrupt every 30 seconds in America due to health care costs.

“Whatever you do to the least among us, you do unto me.”

It seems oxymoronic that Congress considers the idea of universal coverage a polarizing partisan one. Comprehensive and universal? Who is really being divisive on this? What about a humanitarian attitude of “a rising tide lifts all boats”? What about “with liberty and justice FOR ALL” in terms of our health care? Our Declaration of Independence said it so well:

.. We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

These rights don’t seem as evident any more to our leadership.

Jesus was about unity. About atonement, reconciliation of humankind with God. The origin of "atonement" is from the word “one” — “at-one-ment”. Unity. We as a citizenry need to wrap our hearts around the philosophy of universal healthcare. We need a united public asking for comprehensive protection from our supposed protectors whom we pay with our tax dollars. They legally and morally work for us, not the corporations.

Jesus honored all the wedding guests by serving them the finest wine miraculously transformed from water.

What watered down concoction of corporate-toxic kool-aid will Congress be asking us to swallow soon?

Jesus would be an advocate for a universal Single Payer Plan.”

**********************************

http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/8508

Holly Sklar (Move Away From the Snake Oil); Wendell Potter (Government-Run or Wall Street-Run Health Care?); Cookie Monster (Me Want Cookies!) By: libbyliberal

“Channel surfing this morning I skimmed by Sesame Street and there was that scamp, Cookie Monster. “ME WANT COOKIES!!!” he roared. Can Cookie Monster say anything else?

Cookie Monster brilliantly shows not tells Sesame Street-viewing kids about the dangers of being driven solely by one’s primitive, self-indulgent appetite – an “id” gone wild! Sesame Street is teaching children about empathy and healthy, reasonable behavior.

Funny but disturbing Cookie Monster always lumbers safely off the screen (much to the relief of the titillated tiny viewers) after his less than a minute roar-rant for cookies. His obsession confounds the good people of Sesame Street. They humor him and reason with him at times. But they know they can’t and shouldn’t try to pacify his lust for cookies by taking away everyone else’s cookies and giving them to him. He may WANT their cookies VERY much, but that doesn’t give him the right to get them.

What if Cookie Monster became big enough — strong enough — to TERRORIZE Sesame Street into giving over ALL ITS COOKIES? Kinda like the medical industrial complex is taking over our government right now. THE CORPORATE-COOKIE MONSTER wants ALL our American taxpayer COOKIE-dollars. COOKIES!!!!! ME WANT COOKIES!!!!! And like Cookie Monster, it is VORACIOUS AND INSATIABLE.

Tragically, unlike the nurturing adults of Sesame Street, our Congress people are yanking the cookies out of the citizen-taxpayers’ hands and citizen-taxpayers’ children’s hands and stealing from all the cookie jars of America and guaranteeing said Corporate Cookie Monster all future cookie jars of America’s children, and of their children’s children, etc.

Our Congress people also have a taste for cookies, got bribed by cookie-dollars from a much savvier Corporate Cookie Monster than Sesame Street’s, and now these oath-sworn governmental guardians are full-out enabling Corporate Cookie Monster’s addiction. And we, the citizens, their supposed constituency who pay their salaries, thanks to an upcoming demonstration of crooked-cookie-cronyism will be left with nothing but crumbs.”

[snip]

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http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/16802

Private Insurance — “An Umbrella that Melts in the Rain” By: libbyliberal

“So what if we lived in a society in which fire departments only responded to emergency calls from those citizens who “could afford it”? What if the police protected from criminals only those citizens who “could afford it”? What if the firepersons and police persons were not financially eligible for the very life-risking services they were rendering for well-heeled others? What if you called in your emergency and your financial status had to be accessed to determine if you would be helped or left to your own bad luck crisis?

This is the slippery slope bottom to where we as a “former” democracy are hurtling. Free market systemization destroys the mandate for the collective protection of a citizenry, the common good. Pay to play is the slogan now. Even pay to be saved!

There was a hit song decades ago by Gene Pitney, “A Town Without Pity.” We are a COUNTRY WITHOUT PITY! We are a society that allows 45,000 American citizens to die prematurely each year from lack of humane and affordable healthcare.

We as a country that spends billions upon billions of dollars on militarization that brings death and destruction down on hundreds of thousands of human beings for purposes that are found gravely suspect by the majority of Americans, judging from Obama’s election mandate to end the war. Not to begin ones or escalate unsuccessful ones. Wars launched from lies and fought, many contend, over corporate agendas, often in defiance of basic human rights of the foreign citizens, often with reckless disregard for their lives and the lives of our soldiers.

And Congress passes war funding without debate. But when it comes to health care reforms that would relieve the enormous stress and threat of premature death on citizens? All about nickel and diming help for citizens in the name of the recession by a Congress that rewarded and rescued with taxpayer money financial institutions that brought on the financial crisis, and which Congress now seems about to do the same with the health care and pharmaceutical industries.

Something is terribly wrong with our government now. We are a nation without empathy at home and abroad. We are the only industrial nation that sees fit, or unfit, to not guarantee universal health care for our own citizens. We are a country that defies the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness of its citizenry. A society run by and for oligarchs.

[snip]

There is a lot of hysteria-seeking propaganda attacking the Single Payer Medicare for All plan. The strident outcries seem straight out of the era of Joe McCarthy and also the anti-government rhetoric of the Reagan era, “Government-run” programs that will take away “choice” is the warning. Choice for what? An exploitive insurance company which Wendell Potter, Cigna whistleblower, calls “Wall Street-run” health care? Offer these two euphemisms as options, Wall Street-run or government-run health care, and which do you think the average American will choose? How much clobbering by Wall Street is Main Street going to allow?

And some of the biggest propagandists against a government-run Single Payer Medicare for All plan are members of Congress who enjoy a PREMIER government-run, lifetime guaranteed on our tax dollars, health care plan. One flat fee of $503 a year. Our tax dollars pay their generous salaries and ALSO their luxurious, ultra-nurturing health care plan. That is $503 a year for them and their families. They are covered for the rest of their lives. Keep that in mind as the costs of the new “reform” programs are revealed for you and me.

The double standard is stunning. As they are called to make the choice: welfare of citizenry vs. campaign financing donations from corporations? No contest. Our Congress, the vast, seriously vast number, are opting for their own economic convenience and letting the corporations be their true constituents, not us.

[snip]

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http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/17789

Everything You Might Not Know or Want to Know About the Current Health Care Reform Tragedy, But I Am Going to Tell You Anyway By: libbyliberal

“The Real Situation

Right now some of our senators are meeting and trying to hammer out a health care reform bill the President has promised will be completed by Christmas.

The probable bill will not seriously expand the health care benefits of American citizens as much as it will significantly enhance the profit-making of the corporations, mega-corporations, that have been contributing millions of dollars to our representatives in both the House and the Senate, and also to the President.

The President, Senate and House are struggling to come up with a bill which SEEMS to accommodate the needs of a desperate citizenry in these hard economic times, made harder thanks to the President, Senate and House forking over billions of dollars of taxpayer money to rescue the very banks that caused the economic collapse, which banks, by the way, are now issuing tremendous bonuses to their executives as unemployment and home foreclosures and bankruptcies paralyze more and more of the rest of us.

[snip]

The medical corporation vendors have been raising premiums and drug prices steadily over the years, and at this point 30 cents of every health care dollar goes toward gratuitous overhead and exorbitant corporate executive pay. That accounts for $400 billion a year. That money would enable QUALITY coverage of everyone in the United States. How exciting and humane would that be? And what a relief for all of us. Many Congress persons assert that that is what they would want for the country. But they are not following up on such a promise. Party group-think, peer-pressure prevails.

Though Obama campaigned on change, this change to a Single Payer Medicare for All system would mean our representatives would have to give up their huge financial donations and inconvenience the businesses. Imagine, their seriously considering inconveniencing the very businesses that for years have been betraying us, the citizenry, with their high premiums and frequent, cruel rejections of critical care. So, now in terms of health care we have a taxation without representation situation. Our Congress people and even President are elected and paid by us. Bottom line, once again, they work for us. But they are not! They are not doing their oath-taken jobs. This is amoral of them. This is a betrayal.

When Medicare was originally adopted for the elderly and disabled in the 1960s, it reduced the poverty level of the elderly 60%. 60%!!!! It and the Veterans Administration are the most popular and satisfying health care plans in the country, aside from the "Rolls Royce" (Jim Hightower calls it) plan enjoyed by our President and Congress. For a flat fee of only $503 a year, they are guaranteed comprehensive premier health care for the rest of their lives, with us, the citizen taxpayers picking up 75% of the tab. Doesn’t seem quite fair with them at this very moment nickeling and diming our benefits in negotiating this bill and also with the Republicans railing against socialism and government-run health care when they themselves enjoy socialized, government provided luxury health care.

It would be such a wonderful and historic transition if America did embrace a universal health care plan such as Single Payer Medicare for All. It would mean that health care is regarded as a human and civil right not a commodity. Again, every other industrial nation sees it as a human right of a citizen. But not the mega-corporation-dominated US government. Profits over patients in America. Free market competition over public service when it comes to health care, though we still fortunately enjoy public police and fire departments, libraries, schools, etc. But health care? Inspires hysteria among malleable Republican followers and corporations which are ruthless in sustaining or increasing profits.

December 10th is Human Rights Day. 41 years ago the United States was one of the signers, encouraged by Eleanor Roosevelt, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 25 of this document guaranteed citizens the right to medical care.

Many of us are frustrated that more of our fellow citizens are not demanding our human right to health care. When you consider the billions, soon trillions, of our tax dollars being expended on highly questionable warfare. Money used for taking lives, and risking lives. And requests for money for saving lives in America is refused by our Congress people and President. When they enjoy such luxury plans for themselves and their own families. When they have no worries about a health crisis going untended, taking their lives or driving them into bankruptcy.”

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Submitted by libbyliberal on

love your quote.... disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed.

We have to demand morality from our leadership and we have to call on our peers to wake up and demand morality.

To work on wakefulness from our fellow citizens and responsibility from our fellow citizens as well as our leaders. Numbness and denial short run easier or compulsively calls.... or generalized cynicism or that learned helplessness from frustration or despair that causes paralysis.

The status quo is so rotten at this point. We do need "change we can believe in." How sad and cruel for us the promiser recognized the need but signed on into the status quo matrix.

Step 1 of the AA 12 steps is accepting how bad things are. How unmanageable they are. And one's own responsibility in the scenario. Mental health is accepting reality at all costs.

I put on a black arm band every day. I don't know its impact on others, it doesn't get mentioned much. But it reminds me that things are dire in this country and I must stay awake for them and not lose consciousness about them.

I am still working on my own evolution to the long distance marathon of authentic activism, to begin to become one who can pace herself with serenity and not burn out emotionally from a too intense sprint and creazymaking ambush or Lucy and the football disappointment or lapse into lethargy. The movement will be achieved from the marathon activists.

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

I'll send it to my people and thanks for including my poor effort along with the other more illustrious ones.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

lets ... Your "poor efforts" are soooo not. They will fortify me and others, support our position, against the upcoming cherry-pickin' spin and minimization and hypocrisy about to hit the media about the bill. You speak with clarity and empathy, a unique combination I pray our leadership will be capable of at some point in the future ... you illuminate what is not there now with our leaders and with a biased obsessed with gamemanship not statesmanship media.

The sense you make, and your calm and yet deep insights into how profound the wrong-headedness of the legislation is needs to be spread about. Your arguments are compelling and empathetic and long-sighted.

I was trying to paraphrase you in my letter, and prioritize and decided it ALL had to be included. :) Thanks!

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

If I could figure out how to do it in less space, I'd do that. In the meantime, I'm using your email, with credit. Much thanks.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

So appreciate, a little night! I may actually keep using this convenient lilnk which formats it better than I do within an email. And I get to spread corrente, at the same time.

I'm thinking we need "ripples of sanity" spreading across the country. The grassroots drumbeat will have to keep on keeping on, especially since the corruption is so deep and has been going on so long. And the media is so inaccessible and divides us as citizens with its disinformation and seductive manipulation.

76% of the people wanted a single payer or public option and media acts like that is a tinier percentage -- of course, media is corporate-owned, the mainstream one, as does the Congress and the President. The country wants a stop to war and look at what is happening. So we have to communicate with each other and fight the mass hypnosis of the status quo ... that uses jingoism, distraction, disinformation, amorality, neglect of what is real and significant.

There is a huge jump between talking the talk and walking the walk. I have to learn the sustained courage of that, but we can collectively support each other to go there. Just as there is that original jump from numbness as a citizen to talking the talk in the first stage and daring to question authority.

To be authoritarian followers in this day and age is to doom the balance of our lives, our children's and this planet's future. The insane narcissism in leadership and toxic corporatism needs to be fought hard and now.

Submitted by libbyliberal on

sk, so happy to see you.

I loved that article on the Justice Party. Thanks. We need a party with honor and not one that exploits the honorable and then orders them from the table when the real bargaining and sausage making starts in the name of pragmatism and patriarchal power and control addiction. Then it is garbage in and garbage out.

We need that humanist paradigm shift to partnership and cooperation. Keep on keeping on is what it is about, isn't it? Honoring the truth. Exercising empathy.

Still on the road but appreciate having a place to catch up with kindred spirits spreading sanity. Take care of your precious self. :)