Meh Culpa

Re: Universal Health Care. My questions for Senator Sherrod Brown

(AmericaBlog took questions from readers today, which will be transported to Senator Sherrod Brown for review.  With any luck he’ll answer a few good ones.  I hope he doesn’t mind a little familiarity.  I used his first name because I hadn’t heard of him. Well, it’s actually more interesting than his surname. 🙂 )

Greetings, Senator Sherrod.

I would like to know how a person who qualifies for and uses an indigent health care plan can afford to get well. For instance, let us say that a person with a chronic illness might be able to work with the right drug cocktail. Since,according to law, drug companies must provide patient assistance for those poor enough to qualify, imagine that this person has improved using an indigent health care program. He has become more functional so he would like to contribute to society.

Bravo.

Unfortunately, he faces a few hurdles. For one, being out of work for a long time, as often happens with the disabled or chronically ill, doesn’t look so nifty on a CV, and while it’s difficult for a healthy person to find work nowadays what with the unemployment rate being so high, a disabled person will have that strike of a lengthy unemployment against him.

Let’s give him a little luck here. Let’s say this person obtains a fairly good job: his wages begin at entry level, yet once his health insurance kicks in, he must pay the going rate for medications and insurance coverage. Unless he’s taking generic medications, and even then, the cost of his medication is prohibitive.

He then realizes he’s experiencing the ultimate health care Catch-22: if he keeps working for as little money as he makes, he won’t be able to pay the co-pays for doctor visits or buy his medication; without medication, he will become too sick to work; and his health will suffer because he won’t be able to see his physician. He might even develop a life-threatening condition in the meantime.

How do you propose to help people such as this man afford their health care? I’m sure you’re aware of insurance companies’ tactics. If they have to take a customer with a pre-existing condition or a serious illness that arises while the customer is covered, those companies will make sure he pays a much higher rate than anyone else.  If it comes to pass that this man cannot be denied health insurance because of his chronic illness, who will make sure his premiums are truly affordable? (I don’t buy into the competition scheme because I think insurance companies could pull an Enron or develop secret cartels like OPEC. ) Who will decide what is “affordable”–even with a public option? Will demographics, such as cost of living, be taken into account? Will a person’s debt be factored into the mix? Will a person living in San Francisco pay the same rate as someone in, say, Mississippi?

And *why not* single payer? I mean, we already have single payer: Medicare. It’s easier and it works.  Or we could have a combination: single payer with an option to go with private insurance like people do in the UK. (By the way, most Brits *like* their health care system.)

Frankly, I do not trust the insurance companies to initiate or complete true reform. I think we’re witnessing the same song and dance they’ve fed us like pablum us since Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman (http://cthealth.server101.com/why_doesn%27t.htm). We did the same thing with the auto industry–trusted the Big Three to change and allowed them to dictate terms–and look where they are now. We need to stop bending over backwards for these companies. They don’t deserve it.

I realize that our nation’s leaders are chary of single payer in part because so many people in the insurance industry would lose their jobs and that wouldn’t help the economy. But why not retrain them and/or give them jobs doing mostly the same thing in the public sector? Why is Congress so short on answers and ideas? Why not look at the countries with the best health care and try those on for size? We’re number 37 in health care, for goodness sake! Behind third world countries! We’re behind Colombia! Can you believe it?!

As I see it, our nation’s leaders would rather pay for wars, help the Wall Street gangsters (who then made out like bandits), and protect their own campaign dollars. What does that say about us as a nation that we put up with such morally reprehensible derangement? What does it say about the Legislative and Executive branches of our government that politics is almost always more important than our own people?

Thank you for reading, Senator. If you’ve gotten this far you’ve got quite an attention span. 🙂

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September 21, 2009 Posted by | automakers, bailout(s), banks, Congress, corruption, Economy, Executive branch, political parties in the US, politics, recession, Senate, unemployment | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dear Madam Blogger: Meh Culpa’s reply to A Soldier’s Mother

“A Soldier’s Mother, a blogger who writes for Arutz Sheva (aka, Israel National News) has posted an article about her distaste for Zbignew Brzezinski, “Why I Never Liked Zbiggy,” which contains a number of errata. I posted a reply on the Arutz Sheva site which may or may not make it into print. I did not address what are in my opinion Israel’s recent war crimes against the Palestinians because there was only so much space and I deemed that opinion would make acceptance of my reply even more unlikely. In any case, here is my reply. I have revised a word or two, plus a little punctuation, but that’s about it.

Dear Madam Blogger

Brzezinski is 81 years old. He wasn’t given a position in the Obama administration because of his age. To say otherwise is an egregious error. Brzezinski also is a respected Democrat, yet Brzezinki’s opinion is only that, an opinion. He’s not speaking in an official capacity. There will be no US attack on Israel. End of story. Get over it.

It’s long been known in the International community that Israel would not obtain the privilege to fly over Iraq … because:

A) when the story first arose, the US still had some “custody” of Iraq and so would become embroiled in such a war begun by Israel, which would make three happening for the US at once. The US forces, depleted under Donald Rumsfeld cannot not tolerate another battlefront without collapsing;

B) allowing Israel to attack Iran could spark a war in the Middle East, making the region more unstable than it already is (a very bad idea);

C) any country that allowed Israel flyover privileges (e.g., Saudi Arabia) would earn the ire of Muslim states around the globe. Note well that the Saudis denied the report in July as did the Israelis. That’s how unpopular the notion actually is.

The US under George W. Bush provided the Israelis with defensive technology. That was a gesture of friendship. You may not like it or think it was enough because you want a war with Iran to be ineluctable, but it’s not in Israel’s best interests to have Arab and Muslim nations banded against them in a war. Nor is it in the world’s best interests, since we could have another global war on our hands. Wasn’t WW I and WW II enough? Must we again have more bloodshed on that scale? I would hope not.

I can remember listening to Old Testament readings in which the Israelis were described as stiff-necked and warlike. I’m sure it’s not always the case, but this constant hankering after war, when it might be possible to win peace, constitutes a prime example of those character traits. However, what I find most fascinating is the conservative* Israelis love-hate relationship with the US. Most Americans have absolutely no idea that their beloved friends despise them so much. But if the manner in which news is reported on this site is any indication, Arutz Sheva contributes to the ethos of drama and victimhood; this news organ evidently loves to whip up the mob against the enemies of Israel. Granted, many people around the world feel great anger towards Israel, but that state of affairs has to do with its behavior towards the Palestinians as well as its seemingly bellicose nature.

As for the the American Jewish community–it is split between old school types who would support whatever Israel wants, no matter what, and newer groups (i.e., J Street) who love Israel but are concerned that Israel’s current policies are not in that country’s best interests. I happen to concur with the latter view and would go further in saying that those policies could lead to Israel’s destruction, which I find appalling, but possible. I am also disappointed and troubled by Israel’s actions / wars against the Palestinians and Lebanon. I don’t think those policies are helpful; I also don’t think they have worked since there is no true peace. I don’t hold the Palestinians innocent by any means, but I don’t think Israel’s policies are doing its country any good.

I grew up loving Israel and now I don’t recognize it. Would the great Golda Meir have approved of using such things as pre-emptive strikes? I think not. She lived with danger herself, but recognized that pre-emptive strikes would lose Israel its friends and allies as well as its international aid. She may have said, “There are no Palestinians,” but If Israel were insecure she would have parleyed with the Palestinians and come to an agreement to keep her country safe.

There is just so much hatred any one nation can survive. At this point, I see Israel becoming less secure because of its own actions. Should there be an internationally unbacked, pre-emptive strike against Iran, which state will no doubt fight back, I see Israel losing even more status** and security, if not provoking an all-out war. A pity. I had such hopes for you.

* Used in American political terms.

** Look at what happened to George W. Bush.

September 21, 2009 Posted by | Democrats, diplomacy, Foreign policy, Geneva Conventions, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Middle East, National Security, Palestinians, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments