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On Twitter a couple of days ago, MsMichelleR linked to a column on the Huffington Post, which pointed to a piece by Katie Couric, were she denounced all the scaremongering that’s been going on, re the proposed healthcare reforms in the US.

Katie Couric denounced the “fear and frankly ignorance” that is driving people to town-hall forums on health care in her “Notebook” segment.

She expressed alarm that the debate has stirred up a hornet’s nest and has “uncovered disturbing attitudes and emotions that have nothing to do with policy. Are we really still debating health care when a man brings a handgun to a church where the President is speaking?

How does a swastika spray-painted on a Congressman’s office further a discussion about Medicare?

These are tough and challenging times and lots of people are scared about their jobs and the economy. But we can’t let fear and frankly ignorance – drown out the serious debate that needs to take place – about an issue that affects the lives of millions of people.

It’s time for everyone to take a deep breath and to focus on the task at hand before this sideshow drowns out the main event.”

Fox News found the one pseudo-British politician who was quite happy to denounce the NHS. This man is a member of the European Parliament (MEP), which quite frankly means that not many people had a clue who he was. We know who Daniel Hannan is now though, and his comments have come as an embarrassment to Conservative leader, David Cameron.

By the way, the conservatives over here, aren’t the same as the Republicans in the US, because as far as I’m concerned, they definitely seem to have more of a sense of perspective than American conservatives do. In fact, dare I say a lot of Republicans in America seem to have more in common with the BNPs over here. Which is not a good thing. (I aint linking to them.)

Cameron was forced to come out and defend our NHS, after Hannan told Fox News that he “wouldn’t wish the NHS on anybody”.

Hannan’s remarks sparked a furious Twitter Campaign, where Brits went online on Wednesday, to defend the NHS from attacks in America.

The Republicans are so desperate to stop this debate from happening, that they even duped two British women into their ad campaign:

Two British women who feature in a US campaign opposing Obama’s healthcare reforms have said their views on the NHS were “misrepresented”.

Katie Brickell and Kate Spall, who appear in adverts for Conservatives for Patients’ Rights (CPR), said they supported state-funded healthcare despite their descriptions of poor NHS treatment forming the centrepiece of Republican opposition.

Ms Spall, whose mother died of kidney cancer while waiting for treatment, and Ms Brickell, who had cervical cancer diagnosed after being refused a smear test because of her age, appear in the adverts saying they were let down by the NHS.

Both have now said that they were told they were being interviewed for a documentary analyzing healthcare reform – neither was aware that the footage was to be used for right-wing advertisements.

Listen, I’ve said plenty of times that the NHS isn’t perfect, but for those people who cannot afford to go private, it’s an absolute lifeline. I have a close relative who has been undergoing cancer treatments on the NHS for the last two years, and the care has been absolutely brilliant. Without the NHS, her choice would have been bankruptcy or death.

Katie Couric is so right, how can this be considered a debate when people are waving swastika banners and guns around. I mean come, how can anybody condone that shit? It’s just embarrassing.

I truly want to understand, why there is such hysteria over this issue? Whatever happened to having a proper debate, and letting all sides speak, using facts to make their arguments, rather than resorting to scaremongering tactics?

My favourite Twitter quote was by @MaliciousMel:

Healthcare is a right, not a privilege.

Margaret and Helen have a great blogpost up discussing the hysteria that seems to have overtaken the US of late, entitled I remember an America Where Black Men Didn’t Grow up to be President.

Here’s a snippet to whet your appetite:

I remember that America. In that America people screaming at public gatherings were called out for what they were – an angry mob. Of course, they wore sheets to cover up their bad hair.

Let’s be clear about something: if you show up to a town hall meeting with a gun strapped to your leg, the point you are trying to make isn’t a good one. Fear never produced anything worthwhile.

And what’s all this crap about killing your grandmother? Are you people honestly that stupid? This has become less an argument about healthcare reform and more a statement about our failed education system.
Margaret, I don’t know what plans you’ve made up there with Howard, but down here with Harold, we have living wills to determine how we will leave this world when the time comes. Mine states that unless the feeding tube is large enough for a piece of pie, I don’t want to be hooked up to it. Harold, of course, says his can only be connected to him if the other end is connected to a bottle of single malt scotch.

I truly love those ladies.

28 Comments »


  • sallahdog
    August 17
    1:16 pm

    The scare tactics are mostly being floated by the insurance companies (and the politicians they give big bucks to)… They don’t want competition, they want to be able to only insure those who are less likely to get sick, disallow pre existing conditions and drag their feet on treatments…

    If there is a public option, they won’t have that ability without being left in the dust…

    So they scare grandma with death panel talk… Its disgusting..

    I personally think we also need tort reform, to disallow huge medical malpractice settlements (which is making doctors costs spiral out of control), but since most of the lawmakers are lawyers, and owned by trial lawyers, that isn’t likely to fly, and unfortunately that is going to make any health care an expensive proposition..

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  • UHC isn’t perfect in Canada either but I sure would take it ANY day over the nuttiness that is health care in the US!!
    Apparently in the US, those opposed have been using Canada as an example of why NOT get UHC – which quite frankly annoys the hell out of me. And yet amusing because in Canda, they use the US health care system as scare tactics for a private health care system.

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  • medumb
    August 17
    1:59 pm

    I just am at a complete loss as to how public healthcare can be seen as bad? Especially with all the stories I have been seeing online about people being refused private insurance or what was that figure released earlier this year about how a ridiculously high percentage of bankruptcies in US are from medical bills?
    Medicare in Australia is by no means perfect, but I will be forever grateful for it. Though it sounds dramatic, my brother would either be dead or brain damaged without the brain surgery he had under it and I would have a great difficulty walking today without the multiple surgeries I had as a kid and uni student.
    – Even if my mother had been working and able to afford health insurance the bro wouldn’t have been covered, from the rigmarole that we had to go through recently to get it for him.

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  • Personally, I think that there should be a referendum on an issue as big as this one. Let the people decide I say, then at least it’ll be a truly democratic decision either way.

    SD, I don’t get why people would trust insurance companies more than their government. I think our leader sucks, but at least I know that the basis of his job is to help the citizens of this country, whereas corporate companies are only about the big bucks.

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  • Anon76
    August 17
    2:08 pm

    And God help anyone who maxes out the benefits on their policies. Try finding another insurance company after that!

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  • Kay Webb Harrison
    August 17
    2:30 pm

    Personally, I think that there should be a referendum on an issue as big as this one. Let the people decide I say, then at least it’ll be a truly democratic decision either way.

    There WAS a referendum on Nov. 4 when we elected Obama and Democratic Party majorities in the House of Representatives and in the Senate.

    Too many people become defensive when the health care system is criticized. The problem is NOT the quality of the actual care; the problem is access to that care. People complain that the govt. plan will “ration” care; I believe that the health insurance companies do that now.

    The whole “Death Panel” scare was created by a woman who has worked as a representative for various health care companies. She made the whole thing up based on a provision of the bill to reimburse voluntary consultations with a physician about “advanced directives” (living wills). When Congress passed the big pharmaceutical bill during the GW Bush administration, all those Republicans, who are now denouncing “mandatory” end of life sessions unquestioningly, agreed to a provision almost identical to the one in the current House bill.

    There is no provision about abortion funding in the current legislation. The Hyde Amendment, which is recognized as law, forbids that the federal govt. pay for any abortion. However, the is an anti-reform TV ad that states that the new legislation will fund Planned Parenthood and abortions, “refusing care to our greatest generation” and life to the future generation.

    The conservatives who oppose health care reform are those who don’t have to worry about not having access to whatever care they need whenever they need it. They are using scare tactics to foment protest among those who fear change in any form, even if that change will benefit them. Too many anti-reform groups which claim to be “grassroots” or “springing from ordinary people” are funded by public relation or lobbying firms, employed by–guess who?–health insurance corporations, health industry and pharmaceutical companies. Rachel Maddow of MSNBC continues to expose connections between the sham “grassroots” organizers and their big business patrons. You should check out her Web site.

    By the way, did you hear about how Stephen (Steven?) Hawking was brought into the “debate”?

    Kay

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  • FD
    August 17
    2:37 pm

    I could be wrong, but as far as I am aware, there is actually no provision in US Federal law for referenda in quite the same way as there is in the UK.

    The way someone on my flist put it: In the US you have the right to bear arms. In the UK you have the right to medical care. I know which right I’d rather have, and also which right I’d rather my fellow citizens have.

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  • My husband pays a ridiculous amount for health insurance through his work for him and us. Know how much they pay each time I go to the doctor? Less than $10/visit. With as many times as I have to go to the doctor, one would think our deductible has been met for the year by this time, but it’s nowhere near met because of their screwed up calculating system. We would drop it altogether and just set aside that money each week in case it’s needed, but my medications are very expensive, and the drug plan through his insurance does help cut that cost, though it’s still pricey even with the co-pay.

    If my husband changes jobs, it’s very likely that I won’t be able to get insurance once he becomes qualified for it at the new place because of preexisting conditions. Then where does that leave me since I don’t qualify for insurance through the state either?

    In other words, under our current form of health care, I’m screwed no matter how one looks at it. And I won’t even go into the issues my dad has regarding his health care and medications and he’s on disability.

    We’ve joked around about moving to Canada, but who knows? If things don’t change with the current health care system, it just may turn from joke to serious. I think it’s quite pathetic when people have to decide between medication and food. Do you go without eating and risk starving or do you forget about your medications and risk all sorts of ill effects from not taking it? And there are some people who don’t have the option of doing without their meds because to do so puts their lives in danger.

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  • It is ridiculous, indeed.

    How about all the people who cannot afford health insurance because they are self-employed? Or they work part time and get no benefits from their employer?

    According to the outcry, it’s fine that these people–who pay taxes too–get no health care, and it’s their problem if they bankrupt themselves through medical bills.

    Aren’t freedom and the pursuit of happiness rights under the Bill of Rights? What kind of freedom–let alone happiness–is there when so many people can’t afford such a basic need as health care?

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  • joanne
    August 17
    3:21 pm

    I could be wrong, but as far as I am aware, there is actually no provision in US Federal law for referenda in quite the same way as there is in the UK.

    You are correct. There are no nationwide referenda in the USA. They can be done within each state, but not all over the country in one vote. The only thing I can think of that’s even close to such a procedure here is the ratification of a constitutional amendment, in which each state must have their own vote on whether to ratify, and then 38 of the states have to vote for it in order for it to become law. It’s nearly impossible to get it done.

    The problem with the healthcare situation as it is now, is that the squeaky wheels are getting the grease. The protesters are in no way the majority, but they get the most media attention. The majority of these protest groups were organized by right-wing lobbyists through email campaigns to Republican activists. They have no ideology other than to make a buck, which big healthcare companies are paying them to stir up opposition.

    The silent majority really does want healthcare reform in the USA. The problem is that we’re not the lunatics you’ll see on the tv. We roll our eyes with dismay and bewilderment when we see these nutjobs on tv just as much as you do across the pond.

    The way primary elections are set up, it’s the base that chooses the candidates. Most people don’t vote in primaries, unfortunately, so those who end up as the candidates often cater to the extreme wing. And let’s not forget that the right has a huge media conglomerate – NewsCorp – at their disposal. If you want to see what’s pushing most of the looney-tunes behavior, just watch FoxNews for 5 minutes and you’ll see enough to enrage even the most disinterested observer.

    Once the presidential election was over, it seems like Democratic Party just laid down to bask in the glow of victory. They’ve turned into a bunch of cowards who don’t seem to know how to fight back on this issue. Time to take the kid gloves off, Dems! They’re getting away with murder again.

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  • Jenns
    August 17
    3:59 pm

    About a week ago, there was a public event at the Staples Center, here in L.A. It was a free clinic for the uninsured and the underinsured – free dental, medical and health screenings. Thousands of people lined up for it. Some were there from 3 a.m. until evening, and they had to be turned away with a voucher that first day due to the sheer volume of people.
    This organization goes all over the United States providing much-needed care.

    And yet so many people are still opposed to public options.
    It boggles the mind.

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  • Anon76
    August 17
    6:31 pm

    Yes, Jenns, isn’t it outrageous that it has come to that? And what is given free only lasts for a short time. After that, you need to see a physician to continue the directives.

    I fear that more and more Americans will become isolationists in their political opinions. I see it happening already “why send money there when we need it here!” And then it translates even further into “I have my health care, I ain’t paying for no one else.”

    We ARE a very priveleged country, but that is slipping into the toilet. More and more are becoming poor and homeless. And that makes our constant bombardment by TV ads to give anything we have left almost intolerable.

    They no longer mess around, they show awful things, be it for animals or children. No longer is it, “look at this cute child and feel the need to help her.”

    Yes, I know this is the ugly truth in other countries, but truth be told, it is now the same ugly truth in the US. No health care, no food.

    Oops, I’m on a rant. I leave the floor to others.

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  • MB (Leah)
    August 17
    6:53 pm

    I don’t get all the screaming and shouting as well, because the few times I’ve had the displeasure of watching one of these events, I didn’t see any wealthy people who actually might have to pay extra in tax, in there being so angry over stuff they obviously know nothing about.

    I really want to ask those yelling people what kind of insurance they have now and how great it is if they even have any?

    They’d rather take the crap that most companies give them and fight for their right to be refused care based on pre-existing conditions, or to pay ridiculous premiums, or have to pay a couple thousand out of pocket first before insurance will kick in and pay for anything. Or maybe not get any at all through the company because the company only gives them just enough hours to keep them out of getting health insurance.

    Many companies only offer HMO’s and I have to say that one such clinic here in Washington state is Group Health, which is more popularly known as Group Death because they are notorious for crappy care. This is what these screaming heads are fighting for?

    Or maybe they like being self-employed and having to pay maybe a 1/2 month’s salary just to get the basic in coverage. Or maybe they like that now many companies are requiring people to get healthy and loose weight or risk getting dropped from their insurance or getting their rates raised?

    I mean really, only a very few people in this country are getting decent health care through their companies. And those are usually upper management and CEO’s who are making 5 times the average worker in salary anyway and can afford to see a Dr. when they need to.

    I also wonder where these people think some of their tax money is already going to? Like ultimately taking care of people with serious diseases who can’t afford health care and who if they could have seen a dr. could have found out problems before they became a huge issue costing a whole lot more.

    Or how about all those people who have had to go bankrupt due to medical costs, or who have had to default on loans, those who’ve costs companies in lost productiveness due to chronic illness and so on. Who do all those screaming heads think are paying for that?

    Everyone, that’s who. Either in tax or in raised prices from companies.

    Personally I’d rather my tax money go to healthcare for all rather than all the gabillion dollars that have gone towards wars, and feeding money to companies charging a couple hundred dollars per toilet for military contracts and so on.

    What are these people so afraid of? That somehow getting at least basic care to everyone in the US is going to turn us into a huge socialist country? I mean how idiotic is that thinking?

    And what gets me is that all these screaming heads are, through their screaming and helping it along, going to pay through their teeth eventually for all the millions of dollars that insurance companies are now spending to fight this health care system instead of maybe using that money to actually do their job and get health care to people.

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  • Kay Webb Harrison
    August 17
    7:18 pm

    About a week ago, there was a public event at the Staples Center, here in L.A. It was a free clinic for the uninsured and the underinsured – free dental, medical and health screenings. Thousands of people lined up for it. Some were there from 3 a.m. until evening, and they had to be turned away with a voucher that first day due to the sheer volume of people.
    This organization goes all over the United States providing much-needed care.

    This event was featured on “Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO beginning Fri. 14 Aug. (It will be repeated through the week until 10:00 EDT, Aug. 21.). The medical program that provided the care usually works in Third World Countries. They also do optical exams and provide free eyeglasses.

    Kay

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  • I got so fed up with this I blogged about it a few days ago, too, Karen. It seems that we Americans are doomed to make ourselves look like asses in front of the world at the times when we need the most serious and considered debate. But the lunatics are the ones that get the media coverage. It’s disheartening, truly.

    And as for those who cry out that universal health care coverage (cause really, that’s all we’re talking about here) will mean rationing of health care, and insurance company big-wigs will decide who will live and who will die, and not being able to pick your doctor, and granny not being allowed to get her medicine or not getting her surgery, or dad getting kicked out of the hospital before he’s well… I have news for you. We already have that health care system in the US. It’s called the HMO, and plenty of people already have it.

    So why not allow those who have nothing at all to have something? I’d love to be able to learn more about what’s actually being proposed, but it’s so damned difficult when all that gets any coverage are the crazies.

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  • I try to think positive. Barack Obama is possibly the smartest president we’ve ever had. Not only on IQ points, where he’s way high, but also emotionally and socially, he’s a genius. Sometimes it’s not a bad thing to give the right wing free reign to show what they’re really made of. What’s that old prayer? “Oh, Lord. Let my enemies go too far.” Well, they have. And I think the tide will turn on them. August is a pretty long month, actually.

    The only thing I’m really scared of is if Obama gives it up to the insurance companies and makes deals with them to take a public option off the table for calling an end to policy limits and pre-existing conditions. We really need the public option to keep those guys honest.

    And I saw the hometown meeting that Obama ran in Colorado this weekend. It was great. Obama did point out that the media loves the controversy and gins it up and ignore all productive town meetings on healthcare across the country.

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  • Carolyn
    August 17
    9:23 pm

    My husband is an independent trucker and so we have an individual policy for him with Blue Cross, Blue Shield. The last 5 years or so, the deductible, copays and premiums have gone up and the coverage has gone down. It now costs us $404.00 per month, (up from about $280.00 when we took it out), just for his coverage and I don’t dare shop around because he had a heart attack several years ago and so has a pre-existing condition.

    If I wasn’t covered through my work (they pay my premium) I would have no coverage because we couldn’t afford two individual polices. We really can’t afford one, but can’t afford to be without it, what with the cost of hospitals, etc. these days.

    I consider it a stop gap for a catastrophic illness. When you have a $50 copay for a 5 minute doctor visit, it’s just too much.

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  • Andrew Sullivan has a series of posts up called The View From Your Sick Bed, and honestly some of the stories are heart-breaking.

    What is it that the Right are so afraid of?

    Why would anybody oppose healthcare that would benefit all? Are people really worried about tax hikes? I just don’t get this hysteric opposition to something that makes human sense.

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  • joanne
    August 17
    11:32 pm

    What is it that the Right are so afraid of?

    They unthinkingly do whatever Rush, Sean, or Glen tell them to. They’re afraid to change. Then again, what do they care? The majority of them already have government healthcare – Medicare. They got theirs, F off if you want to be treated as they do. Seriously, they don’t think. Rush wants Obama to fail, so they’ll do anything and everything to make that happen. If ClearChannel and NewsCorp is in kahoots with health insurers and pharmaceutical companies, all the better! It’s all about the almighty dollar, as is almost everything here in the Land of Opportunity.

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  • I don’t understand the anger either. It’s so silly that most of the people losing their minds over health care reform are the same people who would be shit outta luck if they lost their group policies through their employers. And all that crap about not wanting the government to make decisions about their health care? Hello! Right now some person sitting in a cubicle is making decisions to approve or deny your health care based on their ability to earn bonuses for saving the company money! And rationing? Like waiting for a doctor appointment isn’t already a problem. Try getting in to see an OB/GYN or GP some time. Be prepared to wait six or more weeks for an initial visit and then who the heck knows how long for a follow up or specialist appointment.

    I went without insurance from 19 until 23 because I couldn’t afford COBRA (it was $600 and some odd dollars a month) and couldn’t get individual insurance because I have crappy ovaries. Isn’t that ridiculous? A smattering of ovarian cysts and premature ovarian failure and I get stuck in the “rare disorder” and “pre-existing condition” categories. That meant no access to affordable preventative care covering everything from Pap smears to seeing a doc for the flu or a hacking cough.

    If Dave ever lost his job or his company stopped offering insurance, we would be screwed. He has well-controlled Type II Diabetes (diet/exercise/oral meds) and I have PCOS/POF. Do you think there is any insurance company out there willing to insure us at an affordable rate? Yeah, um, not likely. Even now we have a high-deductible HSA. My prenatal care has already cost me nearly two grand out of pocket–and I have what many would consider “amazing” insurance. Thankfully we had been saving hardcore before finally (finally!) becoming pregnant. I don’t know what we’d do if we hadn’t. Our daughter has a funky umbilical cord that has required four separate ultrasounds at $521 a piece. Yeah. Um. Ouch.

    At the very least, we need to provide US citizens with access to one comprehensive, low cost health insurance plan that doesn’t have any clauses about pre-existing conditions. Also it’s an effing travesty that children go without needed medical, dental, and vision care in this country. Makes me absolutely sick to think some Mom down the road is having to choose between buying her kid’s asthma medicine or putting groceries on the table. We are better people than that–or at least I thought we were.

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  • Eli
    August 18
    1:31 am

    Sat here trying to figure out how to weigh in without it sounding pity party or overly “assholic”. I’m one of the many Americans who is stuck in a job I hate about 50% of the time because I can’t chance going without insurance. I’m expensive, and I know it, but I also didn’t ask for Crohn’s Disease to take over my life at 16. I also didn’t ask for it to be the kind that takes increasingly expensive combinations of medications and surgeries to keep under some degree of control. I work over 40 hours a week just to afford the copays and most weeks that’s working through pain, nausea, and bone deep fatigue. And I’m actually lucky, I have employers that I like that care enough to keep paying the increasing health insurance premiums. Eventually, without a change in the system, it’ll get too expensive for them to do. I was reduced to hysterical tears a few months ago when one of the drug companies that makes my most expensive medication sent me an unsolicited copay assistance card that means I can manage to buy food after paying for the other 2 drugs that just got added to the remission teetertoter.

    Healthcare reform is a lifeline for me. I don’t really expect the finance part to get any better. I still expect the rollercoaster of liquidating my retirement account to pay off the latest surgery just as I’d finally started to build some kind of balance. And I still expect the not knowing if two surgeries will hit before I can rebuild the cushion. I delay routine care because I can’t afford the additional copays and I know I’m playing a bit of game of russian roulette with delaying labs that track a chronic potassium issue, but it’s the reality of the current US medical industry. I just can’t call it a Healthcare system. I really don’t expect the financial juggle to change. I just call the hospital payment plan my latest car payment.

    But the peace of knowing that I will be able to get insurance even if I’m with an employer who doesn’t offer a group plan, knowing that I can move to another state without worrying about moving to one that allows pre-existing condition exclusions. That is a huge part of it for me. It gives me back a bit of freedom. And takes away part of the stress.

    I’d love to see single payor, but I’m a realist. For all the rah rah patriotism and the talk of amazing American ingenuity the powers to be just don’t have the same faith I do that that American ingenuity could take single payor and make it work here. After all, single payor American healthcare via the US Army saved my life at 16. And my parents didn’t pay for anything beyond some extra bandages from the PX and amd maybe something out of pocket for a prescription that was filled off Base.

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  • As Kay mentions, some dillweeds said that Stephen Hawking would be dead if British and under the British health care system — of course, he IS and IS!

    I’ve always been a person who believes that people with whom I disagree might very well have something to add and teach, but it has been difficult for me to maintain that attitude in recent months.

    One of the things I loved about Obama was his discussion of bipartisanship, reaching across the aisle, etc, but now I just want him to remember the last election was a mandate from the voters — he was voted him in part for his stance on health care, and the voters gave him the majority to get ‘er done. The Republicans are never going to go along with anything remotely like what he promised and every concession moves him away from those promises. He’s using a lot of political capital on this, and the result is headed in a way that makes that a waste.

    I’m still of the mind there are good people on the other side of the aisle, but those people need to take back their party. Right now they’re catering to gun-toting racists and liars and that’s beneath them.

    One of the recent signs threatened not just the president, but also his wife and daughters. Can anyone of conscience condone that? Can anyone hope to reason with it?

    I recently read a book by Carlotta Walls Lanier — she was one of the teens who integrated Central High in Arkansas back in the 50s — the Little Rock Nine. As she talked of the threats and the indignities of that time, I had to think that the snarling faces she saw were all too familiar to anyone watching the news today.

    There was an iconic photo of another of the students, Elizabeth Eckford, being threatened by a mob. The students were meant to meet up and enter together, but Elizabeth didn’t get the message and tried to enter the school by herself. At one point, in her panic at the chant of “lynch her,” she turned to an older white woman for help — and the woman spat in her face.

    http://www.insidesocal.com/tomhoffarth/archives/little%2520rock%2520nine.jpg

    Please understand I know there are people with legitimate concerns about the president and his policies, but when a good portion of Southern Republicans refused to acknowledge he is an American, there is something undeniable in play with some people.

    This country has a very scary history with civil rights advocate, particularly when they also carry the moniker of President, aspire to the presidency, or are black — Lincoln, JFK, RFK, and King are of course the obvious names. So, while I’m actually pretty accepting of the idea of people carrying guns, it scares the living hell out of me to see people showing up with them anywhere near the president.

    The “gentleman” with a gun last week was also carrying a sign that refers to Thomas Jefferson saying the tree of liberty must occasionally be watered with the blood of patriots and tyrants. This is the same phrase that the Oklahoma City Bomber wore on the back of his shirt when he committed his act of terrorism. Lincoln’s assassin yelled “Sic semper tyrannis!” — thus always to tyrants. That’s sick stuff. That’s seriously ominous. And there have been more people with guns in recent days.

    As if this post isn’t long enough: I just lost my mother in February. She died after months of suffering and expense. I was able to afford private care for her and some luxuries in her last days, but it was very expensive, and I know I’m blessed and lucky to have been able to “do right” by her beyond what her insurance covered. It pisses me off that people are scaring people away from Living Wills by equating them with death panels and wanting to kill old people. My mother died young, and the provisions made, the time that hospice and the private workers spent time telling her what options she had and making sure she her last months were lived according to her wishes, the exact end of life counseling now being denounced, was something that allowed a little peace. There but the grace of God, and my mother would have had to die in a nursing home, because hospice was only covered for a couple visits a week. There but for the grace of God, and she might not have been able to communicate her wishes at all.

    I can’t help but look at what’s going on and think about what I just went through, and feel anger at anyone who wants to derail the reform process or misrepresent living wills. (Which Rush Limbaugh used to do commercials for, which most of the Republicans supported under the Bush Administration, which was entered into the bill by a Republican, for that matter.)

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  • And I’m still typing — I have the most intense crush on Rachel Maddow’s brain. She is probably too liberal for most, too liberal for me to agree with everything, but she is one smart woman who backs up what she says and time and time again exposes the truth. Recently, she’s been exposing the people behind the so-called Grass Roots Uprisings — it all traces back to the powerful and to all the people who have vested interests in reform not happening. Her reporting actually got Dick Armey fired from a lobbying firm by catching him dead to rights for heading up FreedomWorks, one of the big organizations behind these supposedly organic protests. Then Rachel say next to him on Meet The Press. Awwwwwkward.

    One of Rachel’s recent pieces:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tl91YF1d3Kg

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  • I like Rachel Maddow, she is one smart cookie. And more importantly, she’s actually sane.

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  • sallahdog
    August 18
    11:43 am

    SD, I don’t get why people would trust insurance companies more than their government.

    The problem is, its not obvious on the face of it, that the insurance companies are behind it.. Until a few weeks ago, it was barely reported.. Our 4th estate does a piss poor job of reporting facts… You mostly either get the liberal view of things(which conservatives won’t watch) or the conservative view(which liberals don’t watch)..

    I can actually understand and even agree with people who oppose the health care system proposed. People who wonder how the heck we are going to pay for it. I personally think limiting malpractice is one way to keep costs down. Everyone wants everything though, no one is willing to pay for it. I do find it funny, that the same people shrieking about costs shere also the same folks, for the most part, who didn’t seem to mind spending over a trillion dollars on a war in Iraq.. I personally would prefer to spend money on health care, but I am funny that way…

    I have great health insurance, but its through my husbands employer and I realize if he loses his job, we lose our coverage (its not likely, but anything is possible)… I want to be able to purchase health coverage, if necessary, that won’t break my back financially, and will cover my preexisting conditions..

    I like Rachel Maddow too, even when I disagree (she is several points farther left than I am economically).. She has very interesting debates with people not of her same political opinions, which makes for interesting tv… Unlike Fox where they either seem to be screaming at the lefty, or just have yes men on… (keith oberman is just as bad, just left leaning)..

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  • sallahdog
    August 18
    11:49 am

    It pisses me off that people are scaring people away from Living Wills by equating them with death panels and wanting to kill old people. My mother died young, and the provisions made, the time that hospice and the private workers spent time telling her what options she had and making sure she her last months were lived according to her wishes, the exact end of life counseling now being denounced, was something that allowed a little peace.

    so sorry about your Mom, this is what pisses me off too, the worst thing is, so many who now call this “death panels” AGREED with this provision until they decided they could twist its meaning to scare the crap out of old folks… Seriously, thats just wrong… Oppose it on grounds of crap that is actually IN the bill, for cripes sake. But stop making things up… My mother lives with me, and just had surgery, we also had this counseling (thank goodness she didn’t need it), but it was a comfort, not a damn death panel…

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  • I truly want to understand, why there is such hysteria over this issue? Whatever happened to having a proper debate, and letting all sides speak, using facts to make their arguments, rather than resorting to scaremongering tactics?

    This part of your blog struck me because I don’t know that the entire US has EVER tried to have an open debate/discussion on an important public policy issue before. I’m sure having said that, I’ll be wrong, but…
    I feel like part of the hysteria is that this is a new experience to us. This President is trying to engage people in a way we’ve not been asked to engage before, using technology and town hall meetings etc. While I’m pretty horrified to see the diversity of knowledge levels out there, (and the way some are using the process to scare people!) in some ways I’m reassured by having this process even attempted by someone. Who, dare I say it, seems to be trying to be an actual leader.

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  • Dawn
    August 19
    6:45 pm

    As much as I love the States and have many times wanted to live there, boy am I glad to that I never achieved that ambition! I would be terrified to fall ill, even slightly. I have had to go to hospital so many times in my life that I would have been bankrupted long ago and on welfare.

    The British NHS, like many have said, is by no means perfect but it has served both me and my family fantastically over the years.

    Even now, I’m seeing a specialist because of a mucosal prolapse (only just found out what that was) and because I’ve had several procedures done in order to sort it, the consultant just said we’ll look at sending you for surgery for this. No checking if I had insurance, just it needs doing so we’ll do it.

    My parents came back to the UK after living in Florida for 10 years because they were getting older and the visits to the doctor and prescription costs were killing them and they weren’t in well paid jobs.

    Just 3 months ago my grandmother fell in the street and broke her hip, she’s only been out of hospital a month now and I dread to think what could have happened if it had happened in America.

    The hysteria over state healthcare is bewildering to me. I would prefer to pay even higher taxes and be able to go to hospital whenever I needed it and for whatever ailment.

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