Thursday, December 24, 2009

Obama: "But the important thing, when you look at the Senate and the House bill, is not the huge differences; it's actually the remarkable similarities. Ninety-five percent of the House bill and the Senate bill are in accord. And there are going to be some tough negotiations around the 5 percent."

95% in accord sounds good. But all the devils can be in the 5% details. In an extreme case it could involve decisions as momentous as whether or not to bomb Iran.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"A new directive from Major General Tony Cucolo, who commands U.S. soldiers in northern Iraq, sets out possible punishments from reprimand to court martial for prohibited behavior, including drinking alcohol, taking drugs or becoming pregnant."

The general says he needs every soldier he has. So, if the woman wishes to stay on duty by having an abortion, should not the army pay for it?

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Looks as though we'll get a Senate bill, now that unprincipled Senator Nelson and perfidious Senator Lieberman have agreed to let the Senate do its job and vote. No Republicans would do the right thing for our country. In fact, they complain about rushing this bill through although it has been an endless struggle all year.

The legislation has some reform but has been watered down at the behest of those most influenced by insurance company lobbyists. With 30-40 million new customers mandated to buy health insurance, and no public option, insurance company executives and the lobbyists are toasting each other with the finest champagne.

Also winning are the drug companies. No strong pricing pressure and no importation of reasonably priced drugs from other countries.

Our whole system is strange - and costly. It started innocently enough with employers providing health insurance as a benefit during World War II in order to get around pay restrictions. But this led to most health care availability being dependent on where you worked. Not acceptable.

But why should heath care be dependent on insurance at all? A nation must provide for the health of its citizens. It's not like insuring against fire, or flood. Everyone has to receive health care. So it's like insuring against the need for food.
The systems resembles a layaway plan, paying in advance for a product with an insurance back--up.

So why should profit making insurance be inserted between a citizen and health care, or between a citizen and food? It's too late to eliminate the present system entirely but these insurance entities should at least be treated as utilities and regulated as such. Like water and electricity. We're moving a little bit in that direction,which is good, particularly in the absence of a single payer system.

But as long as we have a filibuster, along with an obstructionist opposition, and no complete public campaign financing, all major reform or public interest legislation is in jeopardy.