Testing a Widget:'s Music widget and the HFY "A Life's Worth of Memories" Playlist

A while back, I'd written a piece called "
Stir of Echoes: Haunted Hearts and Healing Memories" where I listed a set of music tracks that reminded me of Mumsie, of her life and of my care-giving experience, and of her life with my wife.

Vermont Single Payer: What It Is and What You Can Do

Originally published January 22, 2011 - 21:46

Ed. Note: The following is a diary written by Kossack DrSteveB and is reprinted with permission and without further comment from myself - CM1

Throughout 2009 and into early 2010, while the health reform we got nationally was being watered down by the corporate conservadems in the Senate, the Vermont legislature was moving forward. An important step was back in June 2010 when they decided upon the Harvard-MIT analytic group led by Prof. William S. Hsiao (who had done some of the modeling for Taiwan's transition from private insurance to single payer) and Jonathan Gruber (who did some of the modeling for the Obama-Baucus reform we got nationally).

They were charged with providing detailed policy and economic analysis of three possible proposals, two of which was to be variations of single payer. In Vermont, the least progressive proposal was the equivalent of the most progressive that the U.S. House of Representatives considered, being a relatively strong public option while leaving private insurance in place to compete. That was the charge from Vermont legislature, suggesting strong and real support for single payer. In November, Democrat Peter Shumlin won election for Governor running explicitely on a single payer platform.

It Still Adds Up To Murder: Republican "Fiscal Responsibility" Is Killing Us All

Also worth reading: from 2008, Economic Triage: Euthanizing Hope and Promise in the U.S. on ePluribus Media and Murder by Numbers - The NeoConservative Agenda from 2007 (on DailyKos), both by the same author.

You might want to play this in the background:

According to ThinkProgress, Another Patient Dies From Arizona’s Medicaid Cuts As Gov. Brewer Ignores Possible Solutions. From their piece:


As ThinkProgress previously reported, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) advocated for and passed budget cuts last year that cut off urgent transplant funding that was previously promised to 98 Arizonans. In late November, Mark Price, an Arizona father who had been battling leukemia for a year, died due to complications related to chemotherapy treatment he was receiving. Price was awaiting an organ transplant that could’ve saved his life, but he was unable to receive one in time due to Brewer’s budget cuts.

Now, the University of Arizona Medical Center has told the press that another patient passed away in late December because they were unable to get their organ transplant funded.


Just how much is this killer budget savings doing for Arizona?


As the Arizona Republic notes, the savings Arizona is supposed to have by not funding the transplants amount to $1.36 million. As notes, "The fact our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters (hard-working citizens and good people) have been deemed expendable at a price of $13,877.56 per human life still does not make sense."


It makes plenty of sense...if you're a Republican.

Note, too, that in the GOP's overall zest and zeal to nullify any achievements of the Obama Administration, their desire to repeal the Healthcare bill might hit a couple of snags that go directly against the grain of their "fiscal responsibility" mantra: According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a repeal of HCR would increase the deficit by $230B. That's "Billion" with a capital B.

Of course, this kind of reasoning and hypocrisy shouldn't be anything new or shocking to anyone -- this is effectively the same GOP that drove the nation over the cliff and then into a deep ditch at the bottom after they'd had majority control of our government for 10+ years.

What else did you expect when you turned around and put 'em back into power? ...actual responsibility?

DXC Hosts Family Fun Day at Dayton Leadership Academy

DAYTON -- The winter has been a rugged one and, now that it’s Spring, it’s time to get out and enjoy the good weather with our loved ones. To help families do just that, the Dayton Christian Center (DXC) is holding a Family Fun Day on Friday, May 15.

Art Reflecting Life: Hydraulic Fracture, a.k.a. "Drill, Baby, Drill" -- Killing Ourselves Not So Softly

From Popular Mechanics Reviews:

When filmmaker Josh Fox got a lucrative offer to release his family land for natural gas drilling, he didn't sign it—instead, he went out to investigate the drilling process, known as hydraulic fracturing, and its effect on the environment. The technique, developed by Halliburton, has opened up new land in 34 U.S. states to drilling. At a time when the U.S. is dependent on foreign countries for most of its energy and the country is in the midst of a recession, the appeal and immediate benefits of the technique are obvious. But on his 24-state journey, Fox discovers that in disparate areas affected by drilling, streams have turned toxic, aquifers are ruined, livestock is dying, residents are ill—and their tap water is flammable.

Here's the clip they provided:

For those interested in more reading, there's a short list of pieces on hydraulic fracture already available on ePluribus Media over the fold.


Senator Dodd on Kucinich Amendment Protecting States Rights for Single Payer

At the end of the blogger outreach on Saturday, September 26th, '09, I talked to Senator Dodd on the Kucinich Amendment Protecting States' Rights to move forward on Single Payer. Essentially, Dodd refers to Senator Bernie Sanders' efforts and Sanders legislation to deal with Erisa laws and allow Single Payer in States that want to start an SP system. Dodd makes no commitment to support it, but he will look at it. Sanders had previously introduced a partial fix to the system and it was rejected in the Senate HELP committee BUT if we can get him to reintroduce it, or even a stronger fix? One possibly more sympathetic and newly minted Chairperson may have the will to twist a few arms:

Sen. Chris Dodd on CBO Scoring of Healthcare, Credit Card Bill and FISA

I have a tonne of video to sift through. This is the very first one that I am done editing, most of them are pretty long and there will be more from Dodd as well as some from Ned Lamont and Rosa Delauro.

Stay tuned... These events all took place on Saturday, September 26, '09.

Health Care Help Request: Healing Hearts and Minds Preferred -- Help a Fellow Kossack

I'm writing this diary for a fellow Kossack who is well known in this community; his wife is in excruciating pain and getting worse. They are both friends of mine who I have known online for years but never had the pleasure to meet in person.

The long and short of it: if anyone can help them identify a teaching facility or program where they could get an MRI for her, in the NC area, it would be greatly appreciated.

The slightly longer short version: she suffered an injury at work; and workmans comp was canceled when it could be claimed that the new injury site conflicted with an older existing one.

My friends do not have insurance -- welcome to the new (ongoing) good old American health insurance nightmare.

More info and specifics over the fold, but I will not reveal the Kossack's identity. I have emailed a front-pager with identifying information in case management is curious.

It's the Inequality, Stupid!

Crossposted at DKos. Graphs there are in wider format.

Updated numbers and commentary from Emmanuel Saez (h/t Krugman) reminds us just how bad things are and have been for a while.  One might hope that the current economic crisis does not divert our attention from the longer term issues.  

I would argue that pretty much all of our problems and issues, be it health care, education, environment, collapsing public infrastructure, jobs, trade, taxes, and yes right-wing populism can be directly linked to income and wealth inequality.  And the fact that inequality has gotten MUCH MUCH worse ever since 1979-1980 (I suggest looking up who became president in the United States at that time):


On the one hand, it is not just a U.S. story. Income inequality has risen throughout the developed world, according the OECD.

Of Course AHIP is Funding the Attack on Health Reform

Once again, in what I shrilly take to be his care to not be perceived as too shrill or too, you know, progressive, Ezra Klein tries to make the argument that the Republican Party and the conservative movement are out in front and out of control in their attacking health reform, in ways that are not supported or funded by big business in general and AHIP in particular.

That is both silly and wrong, and as evidence listen to the dog that is not barking.

One Death, Eleven Infected: Pneumatic Plague Stikes in Ziketan, Qinghai province

Via Bloomberg


A 32-year-old herdsman died in Ziketan in Qinghai province, the provincial health department said in a statement dated yesterday. The other 11 infected people are mostly relatives of the deceased and are in “stable condition” in a designated hospital, according to the statement.

According to the WHO (via the Bloomberg article), Pneumatic Plague is caused by the same bacteria as Bubonic Plague, but differs in that


If diagnosed early, bubonic plague can be treated with antibiotics. Pneumonic plague, on the other hand, is one of the most deadly infectious diseases and patients can die 24 hours after infection, according to the WHO.

Anyone who was traveling in or around the Ziketan area since July 16, and who subsequently develops a cough or fever, should seek treatment at a hospital.

And here we thought we only had to worry about swine flu.

Single Payer at the table... on Colbert Report tonight

Tonight's (Tuesday, July 21, at 11:30 pm EDT) Colbert Report will have Dr. Aaron Carroll talking about single-payer health reform.

Dr. Carroll is a board member of Physicians for a National Health Program, an organization of 16,000 physicians, medical students and health professionals who support single-payer national health insurance.

AMA is only 20%, BUT other Doctor groups need to SHOUT!

As many of us have pointed out for years, only a small (15 to 25%), declining and unrepresentative number of physicians belong to the despicable AMA.

In fact, despite the AMA position, 59% of physicians support "government legislation to establish national health insurance"!

Health Care Reform in the House - Committees & Contacts

For several months the apparent public action has been in the Senate, first mostly with the Finance Committee (Baucus) and more recenlty, finally in the Health Committee (Kennedy, with Dodd and Harkin).

Late last week the House became more publicly active wiht Majority Leader Steny Hoyer having a publicized meeting with the leadership of the the three committees (and their subcommittees working to develop health care reform legislation in the House - Energy and Commerce Committee (Henry Waxman; Frank Pallone), Ways and Means (Charles Rangel & Pete Stark), and Education and Labor Committee (George Miller & Robert Andrews).

More Medical Bankruptcy-Have Insurance, Go Bankrupt

Dear President Obama,Senator Baucus and Speaker Pelosi:

Will your health refrom end medical bankruptcy?
Just asking...?


What a great system we have in the United States!

As Senator Baucus and other continue to defend propping up the "uniquely American" system of for-profit private insurance, that system continue to cause a uniquely American event: Personal bankruptcy due to illness and medical bills. This does not occur in other countries.

There is a new, follow-up study (.pdf) on the subject just out today, in the leading professional peer review American Journal of Medicine:

Illness and medical bills linked to nearly two-thirds of all United States bankruptcies in 2007

Harvard study finds 50 percent increase from 2001

Most of those bankrupted by illness were middle class and had insurance

Follow me  for the sad gory details

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Downloadable copies of press release and info above is at the PNHP website here.

And again, downloadable full text of professional peer review journal article is here.

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