Saturday, September 26, 2009

More Reasons For A Public Plan

Here are some interesting statistics from an article by Holly Sklar over at

  • Lack of health insurance kills 45,000 American adults a year, more than die by terrorism, homicide, drunk driving and HIV combined.
  • Grandma could be dead from lack of health insurance before she turns 65 and gets Medicare - 80 percent of first-time grandparents are in their 40s and 50s
  • America is the only country that rations the right to health care to those 65 and older.
  • One out of three Americans under age 65 had no private or public health insurance for some or all of 2007-2008.
  • You can't go the emergency room for the screening that will catch cancer or heart disease early, or ongoing treatment to manage chronic kidney disease or asthma.
  • And even emergency care is different for the insured and uninsured. Studies show uninsured car crash victims receive less care in the hospital, for example.
  • Even with health insurance, many Americans are a medical crisis away from bankruptcy.
  • Research shows 62 percent of all bankruptcies in 2007 were medical, a share up 50 percent since 2001.
  • Most of the medically bankrupt had health insurance
  • Premiums for employer-sponsored family health insurance jumped 131 percent between 1999 and 2009 - from $5,791 to $13,375 - hurting businesses, employees and families.
  • The US is No. 1 in health care spending, but No. 50 in life expectancy, just before Albania
  • In Japan, people live four years longer than Americans.
  • Canadians live three years longer.
  • Forty-three countries have better infant mortality rates than the US.
  • One or two health insurance companies dominate most metropolitan areas in the United States.
  • There are 3,098 health sector lobbyists swarming Capitol Hill - nearly six for every member of Congress.
  • Obama's doctor for 22 years in Chicago, Dr. Scheiner says, "I have never encountered an instance where Medicare has prevented proper medical care ... Insurance companies frequently interfere and block appropriate care."
Why are we even debating the need for Medicare For All.

Getting private for-profit health insurance companies out of our health care will free up $150 billion dollars a year that they are taking out of our health care for profits. That $1.5 TRILLION dollars over 10 years, more than enough to pay for Medicare For ALL.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

More Stoopid

From the state of Texas that gave us George Bush, here comes some more stoopid via Phil Plait from Bad Astronomy. The Texas board of education (and I use education lightly) is considering a proposal to remove Neil Armstrong from social studies textbooks because he is not a scientist.

I don't care if he is not a scientist. HE'S THE FIRST MAN TO WALK ON THE MOON. That might have some significance, but I guess not in Texas.

Also, I think an argument can be made about him not being a scientist also. He received an aeronautical engineering from Purdue University, and a Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California. He later was a professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Baucus Bill

Here is a rather good critique of the Baucus healthcare bill. Read it and laugh!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Who Benefits From The Public Option?

Corporations have a fiduciary responsibility to act in the interest of their stockholders over anyone else. Their first and primary responsibility is to their "beneficiaries interest".

This fiduciary responsibility holds true for health insurance corporations. Their first responsibility is to their stockholders. It is to their stockholders before their clients. That means if there is a choice between benefiting their stockholders or benefiting their clients, the stockholders win. Clients pay money to the health insurance company. Good for stockholders. Health insurance company pay clients' medical claims. Bad for stockholders. Paying out claims reduces health insurance companies profits. Lower profits bad for stockholders. Therefore it is to the stockholders benefit when the health insurance companies refuse to pay claims.

We, the people, suffer when the health insurance company refuses to pay our claims. But the insurance company is upholding it responsibility to its stockholders. It is maximizing profits, and hence benefits to the stockholders.

What we need is a health insurance company where we are the stockholders. What we need is a health insurance company that does not earn a profit, but rather benefits its stockholders by providing good service -- good service by paying medical claims.

That is what the public option is. It is a government health insurance company where we are the stockholders. We are also the clients. Our premiums pay the cost of the health care, but not profits to stockholders. It is a health insurance company that works for our benefit, we the people, not a select group of stockholders. We are the people who benefit from the pubic health insurance company.

Why don't people see that?

Monday, September 14, 2009

The 9/12 Billionaires

Let's preserve the status quo. Activity in DC this last weekend that Faux News didn't show. The republican solution to all our healthcare problems.

The 3 R's

Reading, 'Riting, and 'Rithmetic -- a widely-used abbreviation for the basic elements of a primary school curriculum. Nevermind that two of the three words don't really begin with R. Maybe that says something about our educational system, but that is another post.

The republicans have their own set of the 3 R's. Their set is:
  • Religion
  • Racism
  • Rudeness
The republican threes R's -- Religion, Racism, and Rudeness. They cater to the lowest common denominator -- the wingnut.

Are We Evolving?

Here is further evidence that we are a nation of wingnuts and asshats. According to a Gallup Poll last February, only 39% of Americans believe in evolution.

Less than half of us believe in evolution. No wonder there are crazies running around waving ridiculous signs and spouting off stupid slogans.

We are in trouble!

Saturday, September 12, 2009



House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the first time yesterday suggested she may be backing off her support of the public option.

Then, this invitation:

From: Steve Elmendorf []
Sent: Friday, September 11, 2009 8:31 AM
Subject: event with Speaker Pelosi at my home

You are cordially invited to a reception with

Speaker of the House
Nancy Pelosi

Thursday, September 24, 2009
6:30pm ~ 8:00pm

At the home of
Steve Elmendorf
2301 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Apt. 7B
Washington, D.C.

$5,000 PAC
$2,400 Individual

To RSVP or for additional information please contact
Carmela Clendening at (202) 485-3508 or

Steve Elmendorf
900 7th Street NW Suite 750 Washington DC 20001
(202) 737-1655

Who is Steve Elmendorf, you ask?

Elmendorf is a registered lobbist for UnitedHealth.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Thom Hartmann gets it - Medicare Part E. Why don't the politicians? If the millions of dollars they are getting were coming from us instead of the health care industry, they probably would. Heah, there's an idea. Why don't we bribe them instead of corporations bribing them?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What Is Your Insurance Worth?

On the front page of the LA Times today is an article about taxing executive health plans. It starts off talking about the CEO of TRW Automotive Holdings Corp, John Plant. His healthcare benefits last year, as well as special "executive medical" coverage are worth an additional $38,272 according to company filings.

There are a couple of statements in the article that I found very interesting. The first one is:

"Plant and his wife will be entitled to healthcare for life. TRW values that coverage at $1.4 million."

Not bad! I wish I had coverage that good. You probably do too. Now here come the kicker. The next sentence is:

"That's enough, it said in public filings, to provide him the same level of care he would have received under the National Health System in his native England."


You and I CAN get the same quality of health care as John Plant. We just have to move to England, England with their socialist health care that has been so berated by the wingnut republicians.

It is good enough for our executives, but not good enough for our citizens.

Monday, September 7, 2009

How Many More Will Die?

Here is another reason why we need healthcare reform:

"Army SPC Greg Missman had ended his military service 11 years earlier, but signed back on in order to provide his young son Jack with health insurance coverage.

After only one month on the ground in Afghanistan, Missman's father Jim received the news that Greg's convoy had been ambushed, and Greg was killed in the attack."

Sunday, September 6, 2009

By Popular Demand --

Here they are, in all their glory.


They say "HI" to everyone.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Roundup Time - Or Here's Some Crap

I guess I have become kind of obsessed about health care lately. I just seems like a no-brainer to me. I turn 65 in March next year. I will be illegible for Medicare. I am looking forward to being eligible for Medicare. My premiums will go down, my medical expenses will go down, my medical care will stay the same or improve. What could be better than that? And why shouldn't everyone have the same opportunity? It seems like the rest of the world has figured it out. Why haven't we? The simple answer is MONEY.

But this is not what I intended to write about.

Summer is about over. School around here starts for most kids next week. The others have already started. For the Critter household, that means we will be back to our babysitting several times a week, but only for a few hours on the days that we have the kids, generally after school.

There are lots of family and extended family birthdays in September and October, so it will be party time. It is always nice to get together with family, although as I get older I find that I like the noise and crowd of people less and less. I tend to seek out more solitude.

The eyes are still a work in progress. The right eye is good. The left eye is still blurry. I am on new eye medication for the next month or so. There is still a question if the blurriness is caused by swelling or a thickening membrane over the retina. The medication should take care of the swelling. At $200 for a little, and I mean little, bottle it should. If it doesn't, then the retina doctor will remove the membrane. He may have to remove it anyway, if it continues to thicken. As some point it will start to put stress on the retina, and that is not a good thing.

After a relatively cool summer (high 80's, now 90's), the heat (high 90's, low 100's) has finally come to Southern California. Also the fires are here. The fires don't present any danger to the Critter Compound, but they do add a lot of crap to the air. You can smell the smoke in the air, particularly in the mornings. It is getting better the last couple of days as the firefighters get a handle on the fires.

That's about it for now. I am going to walk the dogs while it is still relatively cool out. Then it is a football afternoon. There are four schools that I follow and they are all on today. The TIVO will get a workout. I record the games and play them back. I can watch a game pretty quickly. The 30-second skip feature works great jumping from play to play. I watch two local universities (USC and UCLA) and the two universities that I went to (Washington and Illinois).

Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cheney in 2012

This is too funny. Check out the ad starting at about 1:17 into the video.

Just think -- Cheney-Palin 2012. Or Palin-Cheney? I don't know which one is crazier. Hey!! There is even a website and people talking about it here and here, among others.