Category Archives: Health Care Debate

The Inevitability Of An American Single-Payer Health System

Supporters of President Obama's push to overhaul health care rallied September 7, 2009 on Boston Common.

Supporters of President Obama's push to overhaul health care rallied September 7, on Boston Common shouting slogans and holding aloft banners demanding "reform now."

Amidst the ideological back and forth that is the health care reform debate of 2009, recent studies reveal a growing reality that each of us can easily understand, no matter what our ideological point of view.

It will not be long until the private health insurance model will no longer work –for anybody.

It’s got nothing to do with public options or single payer advocates just as  it will have nothing to do with those prepared to defend America from socialism at all costs.

The simple fact is that single-payer, government controlled health care is inevitable because the trajectory of the private health insurance system reveals that it is doomed to fail – and sooner than we might realize.

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Sarah Palin and Jim DeMint Should Take Lessons from Ronald Reagan

Judging from conservative rhetoric, the debate over health-care reform is in truth a fight over the future of American democracy and capitalism. Stopping the health-care bill is being described as an essential step toward restoring America to its rightful owners and rightful course.

“Friends, this is a critical battle for the heart and soul of America, and for freedom itself,” Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina told a rally in Washington over the weekend. “Freedom fighters are outnumbered in Congress, but not in America. If you continue to stand up and speak out, we will save freedom in America.”

Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska, made a more personal contribution to the hysteria. Health care reform would not merely threaten the foundations of America, she warned, it would lead to government-mandated abandonment of our loved ones and family.

“The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’whether they are worthy of health care,” Palin wrote on her Facebook page. “Such a system is downright evil.”

While that’s some pretty impressive demagoguery, Palin, DeMint and others are mere pikers compared to the master of the genre. To appreciate true genius in explaining how government health care will destroy all that is good and Godly about this country, you can’t do better than the Great Communicator himself, Ronald Reagan.

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Palin Once Favored End-Of-Life Counseling

Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Portland, Oregon's 3rd District, sponsored the end-of-life counseling amendment characterized by conservative politicians as the formation of 'death panels' to euthanize seniors.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Portland, Oregon's 3rd District, sponsored the end-of-life counseling amendment characterized by conservative politicians as the formation of 'death panels' to euthanize seniors.

Portland, Ore. – Health insurance reform continues to grip both chambers of Congress and the Obama administration; it also remains a focal point of former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, whose criticism of Portland’s contribution to the House health reform bill fueled a conservative uprising.

President Obama this week noted that the end-of-life counseling amendment, sponsored by Portland’s U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, had been used by conservatives and a “prominent politician” to spread “cynical and irresponsible” charges. Obama referred to Palin and her claim that the amendment would lead to so-called death panels for senior citizens.

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Palin No Longer Writing Her Own Script

Sarah Palin's ghostwriter working on "death panels" op-ed.

Sarah Palin's ghostwriter working on her "death panels" op-ed.

It’s already been pointed out by several others that Sarah Palin has a new ghostwriter on staff and that she is clearly not the auteur of her most recent scribbles on Facebook and most certainly not the primary author of her op-ed yesterday in the Wall Street Journal.

Yes, the latter continues her unyielding obsession with Barack Obama by trying to upstage his healthcare address to the nation today, but it’s clearly the work of someone who can write cohesively and thinks in a linear fashion. The piece doesn’t even sound like Palin. Tina Fey this isn’t. Hopefully Palin’s memoirs capture some of her peculiar dexterity with the English language. (A genius like Mark Twain might have pulled it off, but rumor has it that he’s not around any more.)

Trying to pass off Palin as a policy wonk on national health care issues is simply going a bit far. This dog simply will not hunt.

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Sick and Wrong

How Washington is screwing up health care reform – and why it may take a revolt to fix it

President Obama vs. the GOP on Health Care Reform.

President Obama vs. the GOP on Health Care Reform.

Let’s start with the obvious: America has not only the worst but the dumbest health care system in the developed world. It’s become a black leprosy eating away at the American experiment — a bureaucracy so insipid and mean and illogical that even our darkest criminal minds wouldn’t be equal to dreaming it up on purpose.

The system doesn’t work for anyone. It cheats patients and leaves them to die, denies insurance to 47 million Americans, forces hospitals to spend billions haggling over claims, and systematically bleeds and harasses doctors with the specter of catastrophic litigation. Even as a mechanism for delivering bonuses to insurance-company fat cats, it’s a miserable failure: Greedy insurance bosses who spent a generation denying preventive care to patients now see their profits sapped by millions of customers who enter the system only when they’re sick with incurably expensive illnesses.

The cost of all of this to society, in illness and death and lost productivity and a soaring federal deficit and plain old anxiety and anger, is incalculable — and that’s the good news. The bad news is our failed health care system won’t get fixed, because it exists entirely within the confines of yet another failed system: the political entity known as the United States of America.

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Sarah Palin’s New Death Panel

The GOP is slowing down healthcare reform to a snail's pace.

The GOP is slowing down healthcare reform to a snail's pace.

Sarah Palin popped up again today on the Wall Street Journal’s Op-Ed page to renew her accusation that President Obama was advocating “death panels.” Never mind that lawmakers have already abandoned the proposal that gave rise to the original “death panel” hysteria, namely, a provision allowing Medicare to pay doctors no more than once every five years to counsel patients about their options for “end of life” care. (Some top geriatricians think such counseling would actually give the elderly more control by encouraging them to declare their preferences while they’re still capable of doing so. But I digress.) This time, Palin attacked Obama’s proposal to beef up MedPAC — the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. The 17-member MedPAC makes recommendations to Congress about how much doctors and hospitals should be paid for the services they provide. To insulate these decisions from political pressure, Obama has proposed giving a new version of MedPAC the power to set reimbursement levels, with Congress retaining the power to veto those decisions before they take effect. To Palin, though, this amounted to giving “an unelected, largely unaccountable group of experts” the power to make life-and-death decisions about care.

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Why I Loved Obama’s Health Care Speech

President Obama urges Congress to overhaul health care, spells out details; Denounces misrepresentations, and evokes Senator Kennedy’s moral stance.

President Obama urges Congress to overhaul health care, spells out details; denounces misrepresentations, and evokes Senator Kennedy’s moral stance.

I loved Pres. Obama’s speech. It rallied dispirited Democrats, reassured disenchanted independents and intimidated Republicans. He called a lie a lie, and pledged to call out the right-wing thugs if (well, when) they continue lying.

The President shone a spotlight on the sin of rescission — the process by which insurance companies protect their profits by dumping customers when they get sick. This outrage has been under-covered by the media, but congressional hearings revealed that just three insurance companies have kicked 20,000 customers off their plans. They included the woman President Obama referred to tonight, whose aggressive breast cancer was denied treatment because she once had acne. The congressional hearings uncovered documents proving that the insurance companies had saved themselves $300 million by kicking those folks off — and insurance bureaucrats got bonuses and promotions based on who they dumped. This is an outrage. If Sarah Palin wants to see a real-world death panel, she should look no further than the corporate insurance executives whom she and her fellow Republicans so zealously defend.

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