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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 10, 2009 1:16 PM. The previous post in this blog was Can't you feel 'em circlin', honey. The next post in this blog is Another Obama letdown. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

The same, but not exactly

Parallels are being drawn between the current health care protesters and the anti-war protesters of the Bush years. There's at least one difference, though: The Democrats were protesting killing people, and the Republicans are protesting healing people.

Comments (32)

I'm not sure that what the Republicans are doing here can be called "protesting". They are doing their best to keep people ignorant and scared, things that have served them so well in the past. Remember, that scary, secret-Muslim guy in the White House is trying to kill your parents and Sarah Palin's baby.

You believe only Republicans are protesting health care 'reform'? I saw a recent poll that showed that among Independents, 60% opposed health care refore while only 35% favored it.

And do you honestly believe that "Republicans are protesting healing people"? I tend to think they just believe that government taking over health care will only lead to fewer people being healed.

One of the most shameless examples of the "Big Lie" to hit US politics since Joseph McCarthy. Network television news is contributing to the inane hysteria by treating such idiotic salvos as Sarah Palin's Facebook page as actual news. This is nothing short of a dose of political epicac...

Republicans are not the only ones protesting the takeover and (eventual destruction) of 1/6th of the economy.
So are doctors, health care workers and health industry workers.
No one argues that reform is needed. The arguments are against how it is being done, and the damage this version would cause to private care and the invasions of privacy.

Health care is a complex system and any significant change in the system can become hostage to distortion by supporters and critics. Obama's people vastly over-estimated how the public would understand, and accept, the proposed changes. This is arrogant, top-down, thinking. Reliance on town halls and TV appearances looks like an ad hoc effort at persuasion. Obama and his people seem to have ignored the reality that, to be acceptable emotionally as well as politically, they should have mounted a serious communication strategy, bottom-up from the community. That's more-or-less how public opinion got behind the Oregon Health Plan. Really odd turn of events, considering Obama's background as a community organizer.

The other difference is that most of these clowns are 'astroturfers'. Grassroots, GOP-style.

Glenn Beck was stating this morning that eugenics is the ultimate goal of Obama's health care plan. The words Nazi, socialist and fascist are thrown around like candy. Obama is gonna kill all the old people! Clearly, there is very little serious debate about this topic and it's getting worse by the day. We deserve better.

Another difference might be that the anti-war protests took place in large numbers all over the globe and had absolutely no discernible effect on Bush's behavior, whereas these are a handful of hillbilly car salesmen whose red-faced howling appears to be giving the Democratic leadership the vapors.

Since Congress hasn't decided on which of the various bills that the committees have considered will become "the bill" which will be used to create the policy, the arguing and fighting and talking points from both sides are mindless blather for the media, and a waste of everyone's time. On complicated issues like this, the devil is in the details, and why people waste time debating a non-existent bill makes me question their sanity.

So here's what I wish Congressional leadership and President Obama would do:

1. Prepare a bill (either with bipartisan support or without - it doesn't really matter) and announce that this is the bill that is going to move forward, subject to the normal legislative process - in the end, the bill may be much different as it goes through amendments, but there's a starting point for a true debate over what the bill does, not what we think a bill may do;

2. Make the bill readily available on the internet for public consumption. Will most people read the bill? Of course not. But some of us will, both conservative and liberal;

3. If the bill is amended in committee, make the amendments available in the same manner; and

4. Well before the bill is on the floor for a vote, make the final version available. Give the press, the public, and each member plenty of time to read the bill and report on the bill before the vote.

At that point, a debate can take place, based on the language of the bill. The public should demand that every member of Congress read and understand the bill, and follow the bill through the legislative process - I realize that there are so many demands on elected officials that they often vote on bills that they have not read and do not understand, but this is such a monumental issue, and could affect such profound change in our society, that we should demand that every one of our elected officials read the bill and know what they are voting for or against before they vote. Notice times should be greatly expanded, so we have no amendments being prepared on Tuesday for a vote on Wednesday. Draft the amendments, and make them available far enough in advance of the committee vote that the members can read them, understand them, and make arguments for or against them.

I'm not a Republican, but I'm not convinced that America can afford the cost to provide every American with a level of health care comparable to what those Americans that currently have health insurance through their employers receive today. If I'm wrong, great - make that health care available to everyone. If I'm right, then I think it will be a tough sell to convince those that are currently insured to accept a lower standard of care in order to cover those who are currently uninsured.

But until we know exactly what is in the bill that will be adopted, how can anyone have a rational debate? And why the need to ram this legislation through on the quick time?

Does that make me conservative? Whatever.

Columbia County Kid nailed it.

I will add this though...the part about "reporting disinformation"...I think that has been taken completely out of context by the right.

That said, can you imagine what the left would have done if Bush asked Americans to "report" to the White House about dissenting blogs and protests?

Slashing Medicare & having government dictate treatment options doesn't sound like "healing people" either.

I think Dr. Andew Weil's made the best summary of the whole health care mess yet:


"But what's missing, tragically, is a diagnosis of the real, far more fundamental problem, which is that what's even worse than its stratospheric cost is the fact that American health care doesn't fulfill its prime directive -- it does not help people become or stay healthy. It's not a health care system at all; it's a disease management system, and making the current system cheaper and more accessible will just spread the dysfunction more broadly.

It's impossible to make our drug-intensive, technology-centric, and corrupt system affordable."


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-weil-md/the-wrong-diagnosis_b_254227.html

Let's see, Social Security is going broke. Medicare is going broke. Medicaid is going broke. USPS and Amtrak can't run without a huge subsidy by the government to keep them afloat and you want me to believe that the government taking over health care is going to be a good thing?

Let alone the fact that they don't really have a final bill yet. But they want the congress folk to go out and sell the American people on ... the unfinished bill. When Obama is quizzed about portions of the bill, he doesn't know the answer, but he wants us to back it.

Sorry, too many unknowns and many of the knowns don't look too good from where I stand. I don't like the way that these BIG bills are pushed by Obama with this 'just-have-to-be-passed-right-now' attitude. When something affects 1/6 of our budget, let's take some time and really think this out.

How long do you think Obama can blame "riht wingers," "astroturf," "birthers," and others for his failure to convince HIS OWN CONGRESS to pass his oft-promised legislation?

If the Republicans make up less than 30% of the registered or likely voters and don't have a majority of the House, the Senate, or the state governments, why can't Obama and crew steamroller right over them? Oh, you mean other folks aren't jazzed about another federally-run inefficient take-over?

In all seriousness, give me one example of an business or service that the government actually does well (other than the military, and even that's debatable after recent years)? And you want these people running the medical industry?

And you want these people running the medical industry?

Works fairly well for about, oh 2.1 billion other people in the world.

And honestly--ever notice that the folks against "government health care" are more worried about "cost" and "efficiency" than what really matters, which is health and effectiveness?

But I guess ranting about how welll the health care system actually does HEALTH care and is EFFECTIVE at helping people become and stay healthy is too boring.

good lord--does everybody *really* think that the crucial factor in health care is whether or not one option is more expensive than the other?

Ecohuman has corrected outed the elephant in the room. Our system has never emphasized preventative or wellness care and in many cases insurance plans do not even cover screening or sensible exercise and diet programs. In fact, if you have a risk of certain diseases in your family, you may be hiding that fact from your insurance provider because likely they'd consider it a reason NOT to insure you.

We've also cut back on health and PE classes in our schools and continue to subsidize programs that bring big returns to big business (pharmaceuticals, those who are subsidized to product the crop that results in corn syrup). Our business model encourages drug companies and specialty clinics to pander to vanity drugs and procedures as well as short-cuts to repair the results of careless living rather than teach how to avoid getting into a mess in the first place. The emphasis on cleaning up the mess and the damage AFTER it has occurred is shameful but more lucrative to providers than the more moral and sensible approach.

The term "medical industry" says it all.

eco - Last I heard, there were several (nearly all) European governments struggling with the same budgetary crises and increasing health care entitlements right along with the United States.

If your sole purpose was to give everybody the absolute best chance to live a long and healthy life, why stop with mandatory government provided health insurance? Let's start mandating what people can and cannot do that might affect their health ... because after all, we collectively know better than any individual.

I am all for a healthy population, but I think we differ on whose responsibility it ought to be to provide it (and pay for it). Especially when we have a large percentage of people who intentionally live unhealthy lifestyles and drive up the costs.

NWP - I agree with your points (and eco's sentiment, at least), but if you are right and prevention and responsibility are the keys ... we all learned that in grade school ... then why not push for a plan that actually promotes prevention rather than taking the approach that (a) we will continue to do triage on a population that chooses to live carelessly and (b) even better, now that we have chosen that path, we will enable a huge level of government bureaucracy to supervise.

Obama's plan isn't a "fix" of the current system, it is just different packaging of the same underlying problems. It costs more, but only marginally delivers any real solutions to those issues that NWP identifies.

Oh, and eco ... it isn't just me looking at the bottom line. You'll note that the White House, House of Representatives, and Senate are all fighting each other about costs of the various proposals.

eco - Last I heard, there were several (nearly all) European governments struggling with the same budgetary crises and increasing health care entitlements right along with the United States.

still focused on the money, huh?

If your sole purpose was to give everybody the absolute best chance to live a long and healthy life, why stop with mandatory government provided health insurance?

you see, that statement tells me you've got a very American view of "health care". you even call it "insurance". and that's my whole point, really (and that of Dr. Weil I linked to above)--health care should be about striving to get people healthy--not focus on disease management. does that make sense?

I am all for a healthy population, but I think we differ on whose responsibility it ought to be to provide it (and pay for it)

you're missing the point. the purpose of health care is not to help, not to ensure. and I've got some really bad news for you, Mike--you already pay for the poor health of other Americans.

Especially when we have a large percentage of people who intentionally live unhealthy lifestyles and drive up the costs.

almost 50 million Americans *have no health care*. don't try the mythical statistic of "well they visit emergency rooms and that drives up the cost ofeverything". that's utter crap, and it's routinely trotted out by HMOs that are so profitable that it'd make a hooker blush.

so folks--keep focusing on the money instead of the health. I've noticed that when people want *roads*, they don't seem to worry so much about the cost--despite the cost of just maintaining the US highway system at current levels is more than the GDP of the UK.

NW Portlander, I have to disagree with your claim that present medical care "has never emphasized preventative or wellness care".

I'm familiar with three local insurances, plus my wife in health care experiences about all the insurance programs. All insurances provide classes, seminars, etc. in prevention. After diseases, injuries and surgery all insurances provide physical therapy, occupational therapy, rehabilitation programs, nutrition classes, you name it.

Unfortunately, I've experienced both the before and after programs within the preventative and wellness care categories. Please don't disregard the health services that we have, which even the Oregon Health Plan uses.

It really is all about prevention on a macro level. If the government can hand out cash for clunkers and home buyers why not some financial incentives to pass up fast food and get some exercise. If we could eliminate the collective bad shape the American populace is in we could pay for quality universal healthcare twice over. Go to the Mall someday. Take a look at 100 of your fellow citizens. Think about the cost of their collective healthcare. Then think about the cost if those same 100 people were at a normal weight/reasonable fitness level. Just saying.

I don't get to the mall much, but my regular run to Costco is pretty revealing.

good lord--does everybody *really* think that the crucial factor in health care is whether or not one option is more expensive than the other?

Well, one very important group does. The insurance companies. Its "for profit" industry, not a "for health" industry.
And they get to say what treatment you get, or dont. And if they are in any way involved, nothing is changing for the patients. No matter who is running the plan.


Please don't disregard the health services that we have, which even the Oregon Health Plan uses.

Absolutely, like when they refused chemo treatment for that woman in Springfield but offered her "physician aid in dying" instead.

Some caring folks, huh?

Lets see, first of all Obama promised 3 million "green jobs" which have yet to materialize, the US government cannot and will not control who crosses our borders, Social Security is going to run out of money by 2035 (or sooner) yet we are to believe the we can insure 30 million or uninsured people extra without expanding the federal deficit or taking from existing programs?

That is pretty far fetched and I think that most people do not feel that the federal government should be responsible for health insurance for all. Medicare makes sense due to the fact that senior citizens have special needs obviously and we just can't abandon the elderly.

I pay a decent amount out of pocket for my health care through work, and I don't think that it is too much to ask for others to pay their own way. Why should my taxes go up or why should my coverage suffer to accommodate people who have priorities other than health insurance?

It's amazing to me that the right wingers can invade a country without so much as a shrug, but when you talk about making them pay a little more money to help the less fortunate, they start screaming.

when you talk about making them pay a little more money to help the less fortunate, they start screaming.


A lot of us have been asked to cut back hours, etc, but more and more taxes will be taken out for the "less fortunate". If the feds keeps doing this and spending the way they have been for the last few years, (which seems to be getting worse under the new administration with "stimulus" plans, cash for clunkers, and home loan rebates) eventually we will all be the "less fortunate." Except of course for those who make a lot of money and can "afford" to have more taken- i.e., the "elite" class, which includes the politicians who keep voting to take more and more from the rest of us.


The most fundamental fact that folks need to get is this: the current US system is already corrupt and more costly than any "government" health care plan in the First World. At the point of contact (doctor-patient), US health care is focused on providing the absolute minimum amount of care for the absolute maximum amount of money.

If that doesn't make sense, imagine this: a health care system where doctors are encouraged (and incented, and rewarded) for helping patients become more healthy than they are.

You see, health care should be about more than *disease management*. Now, US health care is "get sick, go to doctor, get drugs and treatment, go away". That's just one part of health care in most other countries--but in the US, that IS health care.

If that doesn't make sense, imagine this: a health care system where optimum health is the focus of all services--not just fixing sick people.

I don't really want to bash any doctors personally (in case they read this blog), but is it too elementary to wonder if health care costs are skyrocketing at least in part because of the salaries and compensation of health care practitioners? I'm not necessarily blaming them, because supply and demand is apparently in full effect in that industry.

Having said that though, why doesn't the federal government's new plan promote the education of MORE doctors and nurses and other people? Is it possibly because the AMA and the doctors' lobbyists are just as powerful as Big Pharma and would like to keep the medical profession capped so they can keep their fat paychecks?

I am reasonably familiar with the process of becoming a doctor and the skills a person needs, but it strikes me that if the top 10% of science majors apply and maybe 10% to 15% of those people are accepted and the rest are denied, we ought to be opening more medical schools and getting more people into the system. That seems like it would solve Eco's cry for "healthy options for the masses" while also bringing down some of the costs of the system while also solving some of the unemployment problem.

Hey Obama, can I be made a czar, too?

Jack, when did the "right wingers" invade our country? Tell this line to our founding fathers and see how it goes over.

The most fundamental fact that folks need to get is this: the current US system is already corrupt and more costly than any "government" health care plan in the First World. At the point of contact (doctor-patient), US health care is focused on providing the absolute minimum amount of care for the absolute maximum amount of money.

But the problem is that is not going to change. The insurance companies are still going to be there. The only difference is who is paying for who, and how they are paying for it. The insurance companies and drug companies are still going to make billions at the cost of human life. As for the cost, the number of insured in the US is five times the entire population of the UK, more than seven times that of Canada. Of course it costs more.

As for "disease management"...how about cures? Management just makes drug companies richer.


But the problem is that is not going to change. The insurance companies are still going to be there. The only difference is who is paying for who, and how they are paying for it.

in what health care model, Jon? not the one I'm interested in.

As for the cost, the number of insured in the US is five times the entire population of the UK, more than seven times that of Canada. Of course it costs more.

you misread. I said the GDP of the UK.

As for "disease management"...how about cures? Management just makes drug companies richer.

that's the current system we have--technologically-driven disease management that makes drug companies richer.


that's the current system we have--technologically-driven disease management that makes drug companies richer.

I know it is, and its not going to change as long as there is a profit to be made.

They will never find a cure for anything as long as there is a profit motive to helping you "live with it"...whatever "it" is.

And the single payer system, which would be the only option that actually "fixes" anything..will only happen if the feds take over the insurance companies and the drug companies. Good luck with that. They have too much money in the pockets of the Congresscritters.



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Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 328
At this date last year: 183
Total run in 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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