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Health Care & Environment

07.20 Until Emissions Drop, Nothing Has Been Accomplished: The Climate Resistance Handbook Is Here. [Trump can't be bothered as the world turns into a large cinder. His laser focus is on personal greed.]

07.20 Babies Born Near Oil and Gas Wells Are Up to 70% More Likely to Have Congenital Heart Defects, New Study Shows

07.20 Giving 'Upper Hand to Corporate Polluters,' EPA Drops Surprise Inspections

07.20 With Petition to Congress, 100,000+ People Demand Green New Deal 'That Fixes Our Food System' [Realtime proactive response to reality—now and threatening—doesn't get attention in this greed focused administration]

07.19 Trump administration won't ban pesticide tied to childhood brain damage [There is no truth to the persistent rumor that chlorpyrifos pesticide was heavily used at Trump's childhood home in Queens]

07.19 'Unprecedented' Decline of Plants and Animals as Global 'Red List' Reveals Nearly One-Third of Assessed Species Under Threat

07.17 ‘Off-the-charts’ heat to affect millions in U.S. in coming decades

07.17 Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen forced out by board [Given that states have lost abortion rights on political grounds recently, Wen's philosophical approach to protect abortion rights based on ‘health care’ was smarter – therefore it was that smarter strategy that was killed at the secret meeting.]

07.17 Billions of air pollution particles found in hearts of city dwellers

07.17 What is happening in America's Cancertown is tragic, immoral and evil [Niggardly white government policies could change to produce better students, better jobs and net revenue instead of costs. But it seems they enjoy more cruelty—like Trump.]

07.16 US aid cuts to UN agency will hurt vulnerable women and children, critics say

07.16 Trump abortion restrictions in effect for taxpayer-funded clinics

07.15 The response to DRC’s Ebola crisis isn’t working. Here’s what we need to do

07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]

07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]

07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]

07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]

07.12 These solar panels don’t just generate power—they produce drinking water

07.12 David Attenborough: polluting planet may become as reviled as slavery [1:34 video]

07.11 7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It [Fox News and Betsy DeVos never talk about this stuff so it must be Bull Shit, right?]

07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]

07.10 Molly Scott Cato: ‘It’s the wealthy who are causing climate change’

07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]

07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]

07.05 Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis

News Media Matters

07.19 Fox News’s star names excuse the inexcusable after Trump's latest racist attack

07.18 In Sinclair's New 'Must-Run' Segment, Former Trump Adviser Tries to Defend Racist Attacks on 'the Squad'

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

07.20 Puerto Rico: top US politicians join chorus calling for governor's resignation

07.20 Fact check: Trump says Puerto Rico got $92 billion. They've seen only a fraction [If he opens his mouth, Trump's lying.]

07.20 "Trump Says Go Home, Ilhan's Community Says Welcome Home": Rep. Omar Greeted With Cheers of Love and Support in Return to Minnesota

07.20 WATCH: Amid Extreme Anti-Refugee Push, Trump Displays Neither Interest Nor Knowledge of Asylum Seekers' Plight in Oval Office Meeting

07.20 Trump Denies Being at North Carolina Rally [Not sure if Trump supporters 'get' satire, but here goes....]

07.19 Are progressives working on a climate plan for 2021? You bet.

07.19 House Democrats demand Hope Hicks clarify testimony after Cohen document dump

07.19 The 51 most outrageous lines from Donald Trump's repugnant North Carolina rally

07.19 The Real Meaning of ‘Send Her Back!’

07.18 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Breaking up Homeland Security

07.18 Deadly Delays in Jail Construction Cost Lives and Dollars Across California

07.18 Inside Trump's DC hotel, where allies and lobbyists flock to peddle their interests [Also, too much ignored by media, the $millions "donated" corrupting moderate Democrats and Republicans every election cycle must stop]

07.18 This Republican's Case for Medicare for All [A well-informed Republican is rare, so let's hold him in the light so others may learn]

07.18 Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after president attacks Ilhan Omar [1:03 video shows Trump pandering to his ignorant idolaters, and together they're making America a greater shit-hole country]

07.18 "Can't Change a Corrupt System by Taking Its Money": Sanders Urges All 2020 Democrats to Reject Insurance, Big Pharma Cash [49:02 video w/ lousy sound]

Justice Matters

07.19 UN urged to act over 'purge' of Turkey's lawyers by Erdogan

07.19 DOJ Releases Strong Evidence of Trump’s Campaign Finance Violations But No Explanation of No Charges [The statement]

High Crimes vs. Human Rights

07.19 Conscientious objectors of first world war – their untold tales [The record proves they were morally right by avoiding violent early deaths of their cousins and themselves]

Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

07.18 Corporate tax cuts blocked at least 15,000 affordable homes in California. Here’s how

07.15 China’s Economic Growth Hits 27-Year Low as Trade War Stings

International & Futurism

07.20 US to deploy troops to Saudi Arabia in face of 'credible' regional threats [Working with Osama bin Laden's godfathers, Trump wants to profit like Erik Prince (for-profit education secretary Betsy DeVos' brother) of Blackwater infamy (hurriedly renamed ‘Academi’), the U.S. taxpayer to pay inflated costs while Trump siphons off long-term emolument largesse]

07.20 Iran on 'dangerous path' with seizure of Stena Impero, says UK [Which is this, a tit or a tat?]

07.20 'Dark satanic mills': Tony Abbott continues his crusade against wind turbines [Too much CO2 air pollution makes you stupid, and turns your country into an “Idiocracy” (1:36 video clip)]

07.20 Bolsonaro declares 'the Amazon is ours' and calls deforestation data 'lies' [Lazy and willfully stupid whenever it serves his purpose, just like Trump. “And the rest of you can all go to hell.” Again, just like Trump. Has your country turned into an “Idiocracy”? (1:36 video clip)]

07.19 U.N.'s Bachelet says Congresswomen opposing Trump are 'fantastic'

07.19 Iran makes 'substantial' nuclear offer in return for US lifting sanctions [Was barbaric Saudi Arabia—whose citizens were more involved in the 9-11 attacks—the wrong ally all along?]

07.19 “The Task Ahead Is Enormous, and There Is Not Much Time” [Read this and learn. Or read Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) | Twitter and/or President Trump (@POTUS) | Twitter. Are you serious? Or are you in hideously criminal denial?]

07.18 Foreign purchases of American homes plunge 36% as Chinese buyers flee the market

07.18 There are 16 million slaves around the world making our stuff

07.18 ‘No rioters, only a tyrannical regime’: Thousands of Hong Kong seniors march in support of young extradition law protesters [Most people around the world have more in common with these Hong Kong Chinese protestors than with the ignorant people at Trump rallies]

07.18 Dozens Arrested as Over 1,000 Jewish Activists and Allies Shut Down Entrances to ICE Headquarters Demanding Closure of Trump Detention Camps [Obviously these are not the immoral and less educated right-wing jews who support Netanyahu, Trump and ICE, and who slowly exterminate Palestinians when no one is looking]

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  Prescribing Cake to Cure the Health Care Crisis
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OPINION:

Prescribing Cake to Cure the Health Care Crisis

"America's health care system," said Walter Cronkite in 1993, "is neither healthy, caring, nor a system." Nothing has changed since then.

by Walter Brasch
23 July 2009

Of the top 50 economies in the world, only the U.S. doesn't have universal health coverage.

Marie Antoinette, contrary to popular opinion, never said a solution for the starving masses of revolutionary France in the late 18th century was, "Let them eat cake." But, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) apparently said something close to it.

At a public meeting, one of Grassley's constituents asked him, “Why is your insurance so much cheaper than my insurance and so much better than my insurance?” He then asked, "How come I can’t have the same thing you have?” Grassley's response was a flip, “You can. Just go work for the federal government.” Grassley, who opposes universal health care, is happy with health care programs paid for with tax dollars and available for every member of Congress, all Congressional staffers, everyone in the executive and judicial branches, and the military and their families. He doesn't even oppose Social Security and Medicare. He just doesn't want the masses to have the same quality of medical care that Senators have.

In response, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), who has led the fight for universal health care for more than four decades, writing for the July 27 issue of Newsweek, argues that "quality care shouldn't depend on your financial resources, or the type of job you have, or the medical condition you face. Every American should be able to get the same treatment that U.S. senators are entitled to."

The liberals, and most Democrats, are outraged that 46–48 million American citizens still don't have health care coverage, and millions more have such minimal coverage that they often decline to get medical help when necessary. About 62 percent of all bankruptcies are the result of extraordinary medical costs, according to a report to be published in the August issue of The American Journal of Medicine. Of those who declared bankruptcy because of medical bills, "78 percent of them had health insurance, but many of them were bankrupted anyway because there were gaps in their coverage like co-payments and deductibles and uncovered services," Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, the study's senior author, told CNN. "Other people had private insurance but got so sick that they lost their job and lost their insurance," she said.

Liberals complain that the problem has become even more acute during the Recession when every day about 12,000 workers are losing health insurance, either because of forced layoffs or because a company cuts back on its insurance coverage for its workers. They question why the same drugs sold in Canada are significantly less expensive than ones sold in the U.S., and why the conservatives have blocked all attempts for Americans to go to Canada to buy the less expensive drugs. The liberals also point to a scientific study by the Commonwealth Fund that concluded, "Despite having the most costly health system in the world, the United States consistently underperforms on most dimensions of performance, relative to other countries." That study also concluded that the U.S. "fails to achieve better health outcomes than the other countries [Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, the United Kingdom], and as shown in the earlier [studies], the U.S. is last on dimensions of access, patient safety, efficiency, and equity." Of the top 50 economies in the world, only the U.S. doesn't have universal health coverage.

Two major competing plans—Single Payer and Public Option—are proposed to alleviate the problems of health care coverage. Under the Single Payer health care system, there would be one program, similar to Medicare but with all citizens covered. Although President Obama, as a senator, advocated the Single Payer system, he now believes the best proposal is the Public Option. The Public Option plan allows more than 80 million workers to keep or change their insurance coverage, buy into the government-run public plan, or go uninsured. The Public Option plan would protect the insurance industry, while reducing costs; the Single Payer system would threaten the industry, and relegate it to providing only supplemental or special needs insurance. The Public Option plan allows workers and employers to keep their own insurance or to enroll in the government insurance; there would be no choice in Single Payer system. Advocates of the Single Payer system argue that by enrolling all citizens into one system, costs would be significantly less because of the ability to negotiate with the health care industry and the probable reduction in administrative costs. The Public Option would also influence drug companies and health care providers, but the result could be less reduction than under the Single Payer system. Both Single Payer and Public Option plans eliminate or significantly reduce deductibles and co-pays.

The conservatives, and most Republicans, don't buy into either plan. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) explained one of the major reasons why conservatives will do everything they can to block health care reform. DeMint said, "If we're able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him." Disregarding the absurdity of DeMint's statement, the conservatives have other issues with health care reform. They complain they don't want government running any part of anything, especially health care. They ignore provisions of proposed Single Payer legislation that remove the middle-men insurance companies. They claim that no bureaucrat should step between a physician and a patient. Of course, they don't mind that private enterprise, in the guise of the megagoliath insurance and drug industries, do that all the time.

The Public Option plan allows insurance companies to continue to "cherry pick," but has provisions for those who are denied coverage to enroll in the Public Option plan.

The conservatives argue that competition between insurance companies keeps costs low, but they ignore a study published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine that concluded that about 30 percent of all health care costs are for overhead expenses, including executive bonuses and aggressive advertising and marketing campaigns by drug and insurance companies. They disregard the reality that patients and their physicians, dentists, optometrists, and other health care providers will determine the best treatments, and not an insurance clerk reading myriad pages of rules and regulations established by—who else?—insurance companies. They ignore the fact that universal health care coverage would reduce "cherry picking," the enrollment of only healthy persons in order to "maximize profits." The Public Option plan allows insurance companies to continue to "cherry pick," but has provisions for those who are denied coverage to enroll in the Public Option plan. Under the Single Payer system, there would be no denial because of pre-existing conditions.

Conservatives falsely claim there won’t be any choice when government takes over health care, but disregard the reality that under both plans Americans can still choose whoever they wish to be their health care providers. But if the conservatives want to push what they call the terror of "no choice," let them realize that even with excellent private insurance, patients currently have no choice in some situations. Those who go to an emergency room already have no choice of personnel. Except in the smaller hospitals, hospitalized patients, no matter how admitted, usually receive care from anonymous residents and hospitalists who are neither the patient's primary care physician nor the patient's own specialists.

In yet another attempt to scare the working class, the conservatives tell the masses that government-run health care will be as much a boondoggle as the Post Office. But, while every organization has myriad problems, six days a week a member of the working class, a letter carrier, comes to almost every house or business in America and cheerfully delivers the mail on time, stopping occasionally from 10-mile routes to chat.

Conservatives claim that a universal health care system will cost $1 trillion. They conveniently forget that George W. Bush, with the approval of a lame Congress, ran up far more than $1 trillion in debt during his two terms and that the cost of the unnecessary war in Iraq, begun by a jingoistic president and vice-president who lied to the people, will easily cost more than $1 trillion.

Nevertheless, the conservatives are right about two issues. They are right that the proposed Public Option plan doesn't specify which taxes are to be raised or what would be required for both individuals or businesses to become part of a national insurance plan. However, proposals for the Single Payer system, such as one proposed in Pennsylvania, will impose a 3 percent personal income tax; each business would pay 10%, significantly lower than what most businesses that insure their workers currently pay. Additional revenue would be from existing programs, including Medicaid.

Conservatives also are right that there will be some fraud and the cost will probably be far greater than the projections, something that is part of almost every large private business and government-run programs. However, the conservatives conveniently ignore the reality that the Bush–Cheney Administration, again with little Congressional concern, handed out innumerable multi-million dollar no-bid contracts, often to their friends and business associates, and did little to investigate cost over-runs, wasteful spending, and fraud.

Although President Obama is firm that there would be no additional tax for persons making less than $250,000 a year, conservatives are worried that the government will increase taxes for anyone making a net of $1 million a year or more. Apparently, impoverished conservatives and their conservative representatives must protect millionaires from harm.

About six of every ten Americans, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll in February 2009 say they want the government to provide universal health care coverage. Groups as diverse as the AFL–CIO, the AARP, and the American College of Physicians want universal health care coverage. According to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, only one-third of physicians oppose universal health care coverage.

"America's health care system," said Walter Cronkite in 1993, "is neither healthy, caring, nor a system." Nothing has changed since then.

Sen. Grassley has no worries about health care coverage. Under a quasi-socialist system for all three branches of government, including the military, he gets the best medical, dental, and optometric care in the country. As for the rest, like his conservative colleagues, Sen. Grassley believes that cake is the best medicine for those without adequate coverage.


Walter M. Brasch is a university professor of journalism, award-winning social issues columnist, and the author of 17 books. His current book is Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush, available from amazon.com, bn.com, and other stores. You may contact him through his website, www.walterbrasch.com. Assisting on this column were Rosie Skomitz, Ron Stouffer, and Rosemary R. Brasch.



Copyright © 2009 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

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This story was published on July 23, 2009.

 

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