Monday, June 29, 2009

All partisan groups agree that the American $2.5 trillion healthcare system is broken. Why not have everyone agree to agree that healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Then let's really roll up our sleeves, put the interest of the patient first, dissect the components, and reclaim a healthy healthcare system. Allow the insurance companies to compete against the Single Payer Healthcare Program. Won't that be a change we could believe in, wink, wink?

However, according to the U.S. Institute of Medicine, the government projects the nation will spend $2.5 to $3 trillion on health care costs this year, compared to $912 billion in 1993. Between 1999 and 2008, the average annual employee premium contribution for family coverage rose from $1,543 to $3,354, the panel said. (Tue Feb 24, 2009). You ask why! Several elements are going on at the same time:

The pharmaceutical companies are upping their costs for simple medications into the stratosphere. So if you require more than one medicine, get ready to mortgage the family heirlooms or reacquaint yourself to friends in Mexico and Canada, where the Pharma is a lot less expensive.

Demographically, the baby boomers are moving through the life cycle snake; ever since WWII we have caused a shift in the economy, education and every other industry we move through because there are so many of us born during the same time period being that need to be accommodated.

The insurance companies are doubling and tripling their premiums because their increasing overhead is 1/3 more than what it used to be. Depending on whom you talk to, they are just plain old greedy!

Preventive medicine is not practiced as it should be in our society, so American takes larger risks, needs major lifestyle changes, and has more accidents.
Litigation is rising because of bad medicine and poor medical practices. Ask a doctor to show you their premiums.

There aren't enough doctors and nurses to go around to care for the seniors and infirm.
And I could go on and on and on but one element, greed is causing lot of headaches, sleepless nights and 75% of the current bankruptcies.

I believe my role in all of this is to educate. I say it constantly, know your opportunities and then make the decision, but you have to go out there and learn, read, discuss and find the knowledge.
I strongly agree, that those that can afford more healthcare privilege, should be allowed to pay for it. Those doctors who are enjoying the high life with the high-income privilege should allow that privilege and billing. This is still a free country, right?

Those that like the insurance that they are currently receiving should be allowed to continue that policy, providing the employers are willing to continue paying the shared costs.
In the meantime, the rest of us, believed to be 80% of the population, who can't afford the "bankruptcy challenge", set up a pool to keep costs down and extend the Medicare/MediCal program. Let's get serious and let's put a stop to the fear mongering being used by the insurance and pharmaceutical companies.

Obama originally told us, if he had it to do all over again, he'd put single payer, also known as universal healthcare reform in place of the chaos we currently have. Obama did accept, it is believed, $41 million dollars from insurance companies. So is he in debt to these folks? You bet he is. There is no mystery, as Obama is informed on the issues, he has changed his position and is leaning to find balance in the debate. But some members of the PDA Progressive Democrats of America believe he should use his popularity capitol and make single payer his mandate.
I would assume anyone in the political profession who is honest may find that campaign promises will get mired in the details, discovery, and often financial reality. Once in office, candidates may need to change promises as one grows to understand, meet, study and become more educated on the policies. Does he want to run for another term? Obama has not said. Will he need the funding from the insurance companies? You do the math. What makes Obama different? The transparency. Is it Single Payer Healthcare? NO! Let me say it again, it is not Single Payer Healthcare! It is a compromise.

He is admitting (and everyone is beating him up on this one) that he is changing course and growing in his understanding of what he "can't immediately change". Something we never heard from the Bush Administration, however, opposition, jealousy, vengeance of people in the party, as well as the opposing party, who are notorious for playing unfair in the political sandbox, are hammering Obama. Okay, the Republicans lost this presidential round, but it doesn't mean they'll be on the "Island of Lost" forever. They'll get their new marching orders, once they determine who the next 60+ male with a wide midriff, receding hairline, angry, carnivore, eye bucking, sneering, snarling fear mongering chauvinist anointed party leader will be. And I am not excusing Michael, just because he happens to be a Black Man. Come on Colin Powell, give up the ghost, and join Arlen Spector's "out of the dark" progressive resurrection. They aren't going to appreciate you. Oops, I deterred.

I can see a single payer healthcare reform occurring in the response to recalcitrant insurance industry from reading everything I can find at this time, I'd recommend any of the following:

1.) Since paying back educational loans is one of the screaming reasons that medical doctors and medical staffers claim they are in need of higher salaries, in addition to the mental sweat, gruesome hours of study, discipline and practice (which are priceless), why not allow subsidies for their medical education. This would reduce new medical staffers educational debt, encourage more individuals to go into the profession (nurses are needed everywhere all the time) and decrease the ratio of patients to care needed in the United States. And while they are at it, I have school loans too that need to be paid. Subsidize education period. I wouldn't mind working three years at any institution if it would defray four years of graduate school loans and I don't mean debtor prison.

2.) Demand a review panel on the legions of malpractice insurance, determine where the holes are in the system, publicize and education the public, then immediately close those holes. The panel should consist of highly knowledgeable bipartisan medical, legal and medical policy experts. Maybe they can solicit the help of former Senator John Edwards since he has been successful in medical litigation. Create a bipartisan medical arbitration board period. Oh, I know I am pissing off some attorneys here, but let's set some limits on the dollar amounts, however, the more egregious the medical crime the greater the reward. That's only fair. Cut the frivolous crap. Yes, the sophisticated crap.

3.) Review the amount of malpractice insurance that practicing physicians have to pay to keep the doors open, have a medical group that reviews these malpractice actions, and release physicians from their oaths who poorly practice medicine. Through these three items, we just might find a way to decrease healthcare and medical costs considerably. Then from JoeJoe's playbook on the American Perspective Blog Site:
Photo Credit: American Prospective

4) Require businesses and other employers to either cover their employees or help finance their health insurance. IF they can't finance health costs for their employees, then allow the employees to participate in a national pool and base the fee on companies comparable to the employees premium cost. Make the companies bid for portions of this pool.

5) Make insurance affordable by creating new tax credits, expanding Medicaid and SCHIP, reforming insurance laws, and taking innovative steps to contain health care costs. Those that chose not to go in would be penalized as they do auto insurance.

6) Create regional "Health Care Markets" to let every American share the bargaining power to purchase an affordable, high-quality health plan, increase choices among insurance plans, and cut % costs for businesses offering insurance. But hold everyone to their commitment. I guess you would need medical police.

7) Make it a mandate that all Americans have health insurance and make allowances for those who make less than $7,000 a year. Yep, I guess I'm pissing off the republicans about now, they hate to be their brother's keepers, why don't their mother's teach this very important Christian lesson, I guess they missed this day in Sunday School and Vacation Bible School.

8) Encourage a Federal Health Benefit Program that IS a euphemism for Single Payer, universal healthcare, the Hillary Clinton Plan, the John Conyer's Plan, the California Mark Leno Plan . . . drum roll please . . . done done done done DOOOOONE!

And I understand that this all will take gradual steps to get there. I believe this is where Obama is. Gradually change the system this way so no one is left out of the loop and this will forewarn greedy insurance agents to get their greed in check, find another business profession and realize, health is a human right and it is no longer for sale!
On June 27th, 2009. There were two huge community discussions rippling with questions and answers:

The first Townhall meeting was at 10am at the Venice Peace Center in Justice and the Arts, 2210 Lincoln Blvd. (on the corner of Victoria), Venice, CA and the second townhall meeting at 3:00PM The State Building in Van Nuys 6150 Van Nuys Blvd, Van Nuys, CA 91401. Headlining the event is:

*Dr. Jo Olson: Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at USC, Full time practice in Adolescent Medicine at Children's Hospital LA. A grassroots activist, her primary focus is implementation of a single payer healthcare program for all Californians. Past Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party & 42nd AD delegate

*Steve Tarzynski M.D., M.P.H.: Practicing pediatrician. Long time health care reform activist. Board member of California Physicians Alliance (CaPA) the state affiliate of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), a national organization of 16,000+ physicians advocating for a single payer solution.

*Don Schroeder: Emmy award writer, producer, director of the PBS documentary "No Greater Love" on the miracle of organ donations. Will present "California One Care: Full Care, For All, For Less,": Why healthcare system is in crisis and the comprehensive health care system that will save families, businesses government money. Co-founder, SFV chapter of Health Care for All California. Co-Chair of the California One-Care Campaign.

These meetings were designed to draw bipartisan supporting groups emerging in one location to express their positions. We only hope everyone is pretty civil. They even invited AARP. Don't lose the opportunity to understand universal healthcare, single payer healthcare, employee assisted healthcare, insurance option healthcare and all the differences, similarities and confusion.

Confusion you ask? As a girlfriend who is a strong healthcare advocate says:

"Quality and Affordable" are two words that are being thrown around to confuse us. Those two words mean NOTHING and stand only for rejection of any fundamental change, and yet they are propagating wildly in the mass media, driven by slick diversionary ads, and perhaps you have unknowingly and unconsciously even uttered them yourself already. Nobody can "afford" NOT to have health care, regardless of the cost, up to their entire net worth. Believe that there are "quality" doctors and nurses, but note our largest problem is getting "heartless" insurance mega corporations to authorize our quality doctors to treat us. Mortal sworn enemies of real health care reform got together and concocted a deceptive marketing campaign, as they saw that the compelling majority of the American people favored and were pressing for REAL change. They literally sat down in a room to conspire on what marketing words they could use to SELL their status quo system of gouging us as something new and different. The enemies of real change have been trying to brand single payer health care with supposedly negative coined expressions like "socialized medicine", while at the same time branding their own fake reform initiative with those OTHER words (the Q word and the A word), which we must ALL agree to never utter again.

Do you get it? Do you really get it? It is the marketing campaign of our policy change enemies, and for us to prevail, the Q word and the A word must be surgically excised entirely from our own discourse and replaced with the "economical and efficient" mental transplant. Start looking for "efficient" and "economical".

A second healthcare advocate sent me these words:

It is your right as an American citizen to know the healthcare options. It is your health services that are on the table, and to eventually advocate with others who share your point of view. See more at:

A third healthcare advocate suggested these words:

You can tell the Obama people that this is where his campaign promise has got to stick! We want Single Payer and anything short of that is a compromise. We didn't compromise on McCain and Hillary and we won't compromise because he is willing to. We need to bring it to him that Single Payer can't be a compromise and stop calling it as one PDA friend described it: "Universal coverage is not universal care", this is a MISNOMER; we want "H.R.676".
Yes, there is the option to do nothing and allow others to make decisions for you. However, don't accuse others, when you become less accountable and less responsible for actions taken on your behalf and without your permission. The time for complacency is over. An opportunity exists to make changes on what is agreed to be a broken American healthcare system. So now you have it, and I haven't even factored in the Republican

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