Thursday, July 30, 2009

Health-care reform and the living dead

Zombies take over the streets of Chicago, July 25, 2009

I haven't posted in a while. I've been feeling worse again, and I've been depressed over the way that health-care reform is going. I'm becoming convinced that if anything passes at all, it's going to be so watered down as to be useless, or make matters even worse. And I don't see that any of the plans now being bruited in Congress are going to be any help to me at all.

However, if anyone's still checking in, I wanted to draw your attention to Ellen Beth Gill's post from yesterday. She really said everything I feel about the current political situation.

Basically, health-care reform is pretty much dead, and all that's walking around now is its zombies.

"I am wondering if now we're really off health care and on to political survival. In the last couple of months, the advocates of this plan broke cardinal rule of negotiation #2. (They broke cardinal rule #1 up front when they began negotiations with their base minimum acceptable position.) Cardinal rule #2 is: never fall so in love with the deal so much that you cannot walk away from it. The public option supporters got so invested in it that they either failed to notice or at the very least failed to speak up as their baby lost all the attributes that made it potentially cost saving, a viable alternative to expensive private plans and perhaps a good temporary compromise solution. Now that it's about as far from the original idea as it can get and survive, its advocates might just have to stick with it or go down in a serious defeat, taking many Democrats along with them...."
In a way, I almost wish that McCain and Palin had won. At least then I wouldn't be feeling betrayed, and their administration would have been pretty funny to watch. And you know they say that laughter is the best medicine....

That's a little sick humor for you.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hell no, we won't hush!


From Laura Flanders:
"With popular fury at the status quo rising and hunger for a real, public option attracting over 70 percent approval in polls, the White House is urging public-option advocates to hush.

"According to the Washington Post, in a pre-holiday call with half a dozen top House and Senate Democrats, Obama asked health care advocates to ratchet back their pressure for a public option. He's apparently concerned about advertisements and on-line campaigns targeting foot-dragging Democrats....

"When Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, sat down with health-care lobbyists on June 10, two were his former chiefs of staff. Their aim: to minimize the "damage" in profits to insurers, hospitals and drug makers from any change in approach from government. Specifically, they oppose any even remotely public option, the details of which are right now up for debate."

Mr. President, you ought to be leading the charge, not telling people to hush! The Democratic Party is in the best position it can possibly be in to bring about meaningful health-care reform and it looks like you're going to blow it, for no better reasons than fear of offending Republicans and cutting into the profits of health insurers.

What is wrong with you?

Now we hear that lawmakers aren't going put together a health-reform bill before the August recess:
The administration's Democratic partners in Congress hinted they would not deliver legislation before leaving town for an August recess. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said Obama should be pleased with lawmakers' progress; Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said "there really is plenty of time."
Plenty of time? Some 22,000 Americans, more than 60 per day, die just because they have no health coverage! Millions remain in pain or become lamed for life. And Congress wants to go on vacation?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Better fairgrounds treatment than no treatment

In this video, former health insurance industry executive Wendell Potter, who left the field after almost 20 years to become a health reform advocate, talks to Bill Moyers about what caused him to leave his highly paid job.

My first thought, hearing him describe the "health care exposition" he went to, in which uninsured people lined up to be treated in animal stalls, was to wish such events happened in Chicago.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Chicago doctor walks 700 miles for health care reform

Dr. Ogan Gurel
To highlight the hardships that plague the uninsured, Chicago docter Ogan Gurel is taking their stories to Washington, D.C. — on foot.

Gurel is adjunct associate professor of bioengineering/bioinformatics at the University of Illinois-Chicago, and chairman of Aesis Group, a medical consulting firm. As a self-employed consultant, the doctor, like nearly 50 million other Americans, lacks health insurance. Inspired by the 167-mile walk around Illinois that Pat Quinn (now governor of Illinois) and Physicians for a National Health Program founder Dr. Quentin Young took in August 2001 to promote health care for everyone, Gurel is on a one-man march to the nation's capital.

On Saturday, June 27, he left from Daley Plaza on a nearly 700-mile hike. He expects to arrive in Washington on July 27. En route, he plans to meet people and share their health-care stories through his blog, Facebook and Twitter.

In his walk, which Gurel says is nonpolitical, he isn't advocating any particular reform policy, he says. That's a pity, because it makes his walk less meaningful. It's clear that some kind of health-care reform will happen. Yet unless we have, at a minimum, a strong public option, it will fall far short of health care for all.

Walk for Healthcare FAQs