Universal Health Care

Who Believes the $80B Pharma Pholly?

A couple weeks ago pharmaceutical companies pledged to "voluntarily" reduce their revenues by $80 Billion over 10 years. Forgive me for not standing up to salute that initiative.

Maybe it's because I can... like, do the math in my head.

$80 Billion / 10 years = too damn little $8 billion per year.

That won't stop the spinmeisters who are brazenly pushing this as a great sacrifice, however, some people see this offer for what it is.

To be sure, $80 billion is less than one-tenth the projected cost of healthcare reform. But by striking this cost-sharing deal with one of the reform effort's leaders--Sen. Max Baucus--and the White House, drugmakers could shame other providers into cutting their prices, too.

Nancy Snyderman's Fluffy Health Care News Show

Crossposted from DailyKos.

It yanks my chain whenever I see a show like MSNBC is putting on at noon Monday through Friday. Health care is at a tipping point, so what does MSNBC do? They put on fluff. She gets meaty guests, then flubs it. This interview with Tom Daschale is all broad strokes and no nitty gritty. She asks some tough questions, but lets Daschale skate without answering them.

Dr. Snyderman has been around tv for years. She was on ABC regularly. Now she's got her own spot on MSNBC at noon. The problem is she relies too much on her "authority" as an MD and she doesn't do what it takes to back up what she says.

Dr. Snyderman, trying to win an argument by saying, "Because I said so" or "I've read the research and it says I'm right on this" (without citing the source) doesn't do it for me. Take a page from Ross Perot's book and do the charts and show them to your audience. Cite your sources, don't use suspect sources. Spend less time grinding your ax and spend more time exploring ideas different than your own.

What Health Care "Choices" Are They Talking About?

Cross-posted from dKos with permission of author, JDWolverton.

It happened again this morning. Some talking head on CNN was talking about making sure consumers had adequate choice in health care. What the heck was he talking about? I don't have a lot of choices when it comes to "choosing" my health insurance. ...and I don't have a lot to say about what my doctor recommends for me.

My choice for health insurance is either

  • Take my company's plan
  • Take my spouse's company's plan
  • Go out on the individual market which offers less coverage at a higher price
  • Go bare and pray we don't get sick

Similarly, my choice of health care treatment is

  • Select and pay the balance (after my insurance pays) for the treatment my physician orders.
  • Cajole my physician into ordering a treatment my insurance company allows that will most likely be less effective or the doctor would have ordered it in the first place.
  • Go against physician advice and skimp on care or skip care.
  • Pay the mortgage, car payment, electric bill or skip on food or get health care.

This "choice" meme is particularly irritating to anyone who has faced these "choices".

Nick Benton's Corner: This July 4th, in Particular

Posted with permission by Nicholas Benton, Owner/Editor of the Falls Church News Press.

by Nicholas Benton

The Fourth of July festivities across the U.S. this Saturday are going to elicit a qualitatively different sense of deep joy and national pride than perhaps has been felt since the nation's triumph over totalitarianism in 1945, before most Americans today were even born.

The fireworks and the red, white and blue will evoke something more profound and beautiful, I predict, than most of us expect. It may catch many of us off guard.

As one dear friend remarked to me recently, since President Obama took office, it seems like every day is Christmas. Every day, she said, there is some new bold initiative, some added resounding commitment to keep the campaign promises that elicits joy.

We are, indeed, right in the midst of a profound turnaround in the course the nation has taken in recent decades, a course that took the country to the very precipice of the worst economic meltdown in modern history, brought on by the anti-regulatory orgy of greed and exploitation sanctioned under the previous administration.

Robert Reich's Weighs In: The Only Sure Way to Fund Universal Health Care

posted by permission, originally featured on his blog.

Robert Reich

During the presidential campaign, I thought Obama made only one big policy mistake. He criticized John McCain for proposing to tax all employer-provided health benefits. McCain’s overall health plan was regressive – he would have turned the savings into tax credits for purchasing health care – but he was right about where the revenues should come from. I worried that Obama would come to regret the position he took.

From the Mailbag: Healthcare of all Weekly Newsletter

Health Insurers' Strategy Divide and Conquer?

I received this in an email on May 8 but inadvertently did not post it. Now however it is more timely than ever in its message about why it is not a good move to trust health insurers.

I subscribe to the weekly Top Ten Headlines from the Women's Health Policy Report, which provides links to the daily articles attached to them.  Both the daily and weekly reports are published by the National Partnership for Women and Families.  In today's report there was a piece about Tuesday's Senate hearing on healthcare reform

Update From the Mailbag: Full Recording of Dean Conference Call

We received two communications from MoveOn. org today. The first is includes a video of an ad they have produced satirizing the conservatives stand on Public Health Care reform and the second is a recording of Dr. Dean's Monday online conference call. 

We made this ad a couple weeks ago—and we've been so eager to show you! It's funny and memorable, and we smile every time we see it.  :-)

But we wanted to wait until there was a critical moment on health care to break it out.

That moment is now. The right wing just launched a million-dollar attack on President Obama's health care plan, scaring people off from a critical provision that could guarantee coverage for every American. If their lies stick, we could miss the biggest chance in a generation to achieve universal health care. The first draft of legislation will be finalized in just two weeks—so we need to fight back right now.

Please watch the ad (trust us, you'll like it), pass it around to your friends and family, and, if you can, contribute $25 to help run it far and wide.

Watch our ad


 Enjoy! And thanks for all you do.

The second message is below the fold

Health Care for America Calls on us for Action: from the Mailbag

We are at a crossroads.

This week, Congress is working to pass the President's budget. The President included $634 billion in the budget as a down payment on health care reform. Put simply, Congress must pass a budget that funds health care if we want to enact quality, affordable health care for all this year.

Members of Congress are saying that they are not hearing a lot from their constituents about the budget.

Click here to call your Members of Congress so they can hear from you.

The Washington Post reports that this weekend, thousands of volunteers who supported President Obama during the campaign talked to their neighbors about the President's economic plan, which is laid out in the budget.1 Here's how Randall Stagner of Raleigh, N.C. pitched the idea to his neighbors:

"You tell people specifically what the president is doing and encourage them to reach out to their senators and representatives and tell them, 'No kidding, we voted for change, and that includes you.' "

Your Members of Congress need to know you voted for change in November and you mean it! It's time to make your voice heard and make sure President Obama's budget passes, so we can get our economy back on track and win quality, affordable health care for all in 2009.

We've put together some easy-to-use talking points to help you send a strong message to your Members of Congress that you support the President's budget.

Can you give your Members of Congress a call and ask them to support the President's budget?

With your voice, we can make sure we pass quality, affordable health care for all this year.

To your health,

Health Care for America Now

Inside the Fiscal Responsibility Summit

Thanks to Campaign for America's Future for making available this video interview between Isaiah Poole and Roger Hickey (who attended the conference as a representative of  CAF. Hickey reviews the meeting and gives his evaluation of the direction of the Adminsitration at this time. According to Hickey's account the President was firm on going ahead with key issues such as Health Care Reform but might be too optimistic about what the economy as a whole will look like in two year--specifically whether it will be possible to cut back on fiscal stimulus at that time without throwing the economy back into recession should it be on the path to recovery.

Is Massachusetts "Health Reform" a model for U.S.?

Cross-posted from DKos with Dr. Steve's permission.



Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 02:16:42 PM PST

Ever since Massachusetts became the latest state to to try incremental health "reform" (.pdf) including government imposed mandates to require people to buy private insurance from for-profit insurance companies, some have called it a model for the U.S. to follow, while others have urged caution.

Action Item:  Please ask your Senators and Representatives to attend, or at least to send a representative to, a forum being held at 2226 Rayburn House Office Building this Wednesday February 25, from 2-4PM, entitled "National Lessons from State Health Reform: The Massachusetts Case Study."  This is an opportunity for your representatives to hear expert witness testimony, and ask the tough questions, from physicians, nurses, patients, labor leaders, insurance brokers, and state legislators who are living with the impact of the Massachusetts "reform" everyday. More below:

An Addition to the Discussion on Health Care Coverage

A continuation of the discussion on Healthcare Reform -- promoted by roxy

Although I support a single-payer health system, I believe that the step-by-step approach discussed by Tom Daschle in his book, What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis, written in collaboration with  Scott S.Greenberger and Jeanne M. Lambrew, the probably a better approach to achieving it than that of the Conyers bill (HR 676). Daschle's proposal would allow for a mix of private and public insurance, with strong regulatory controls.

It is astonishing to read a speech Harry Truman made to a  joint session of Congress in an unsucessful attempt to get legislation passed that would mandate universal health care. It could have been made today.