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Nation's Health Care sick puppy


By seabeeWWII - Posted on 01 December 2008

Perhaps half of all money spent is wasted and even worse it is dangerous to our health. This should not be news to nurses and doctors who have seen it from the front lines.

December 1st, 2008 5:51 am
U.S. 'Not Getting What We Pay For'

Many Experts Say Health-Care System Inefficient, Wasteful

By Ceci Connolly / Washington Post

Talk to the chief executives of America's preeminent health-care institutions, and you might be surprised by what you hear: When it comes to medical care, the United States isn't getting its money's worth. Not even close.

"We're not getting what we pay for," says Denis Cortese, president and chief executive of the Mayo Clinic. "It's just that simple."

"Our health-care system is fraught with waste," says Gary Kaplan, chairman of Seattle's cutting-edge Virginia Mason Medical Center. As much as half of the $2.3 trillion spent today does nothing to improve health, he says.

Not only is American health care inefficient and wasteful, says Kaiser Permanente chief executive George Halvorson, much of it is dangerous.

Those harsh assessments illustrate

Bad Healthcare Reform Must be Stopped!

Urgent Action Needed

 

The Senate is proposing a healthcare reform plan that will mandate health insurance coverage for every person in the United States. Individual mandates are bad policy because they subsidize the private health insurance industry, enriching CEOs and corporations. It does not insure more people, and it will likely worsen the more inhumane aspects of our current healthcare system.

We need to tell our elected officials to support national, single-payer healthcare instead. If you're interested in helping, tell your congressperson you want single-payer healthcare (HR 676).

If you disagree with making it mandatory for everyone to take out commercial health insurance and instead supports HR 676, then express your views  thru the Transition website:
http://www.change.gov/

A huge outpouring of emails could cause them to scrap this awful approach that is now the reason for our dismal system.

seeabeeWWII,

I agree that the mandate for health incurance coverage for every one is a bad idea, but I am not sold on the national, single-payer healthcare if there is no option of private health care  coverage.  I am ignorant of HR 676, does it have that provision? Where can I find a good layman's explaination of the bill?

I believe there is a provision for private health care for those that can afford it. the following should answer your questions.  

  

The United States National Health Insurance Act, H.R. 676

Introduced by Rep. John Conyers.
Read the full bill.
Read an annotated version of the bill.

Brief Summary of the Legislation

The United States National Health Insurance Act establishes a unique American national universal health insurance program. The bill would create a publicly financed, privately delivered healthcare system that uses the already existing Medicare program by expanding and improving it to all U.S. residents, and all residents living in U.S. territories. The goal of the legislation is to ensure that all Americans will have access, guaranteed by law, to the highest quality and most cost effective healthcare services regardless of their employment, income, or healthcare status. With over 45-75 million uninsured Americans, and another 50 million who are under- insured, the time has come to change our inefficient and costly fragmented non-healthcare system.

 By Ceci Connolly / Washington Post

Among physicians, insurers, academics and corporate executives from across the ideological spectrum, there is remarkably broad consensus on what ought to be done.

A high-performance 21st-century health system, they say, must revolve around the central goal of paying for results. That will entail managing chronic illnesses better, adopting electronic medical records, coordinating care, researching what treatments work best. (THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE VA SYSTEM DOES SO WELL)

The United States today devotes 16 percent of its gross domestic product to medical care, more per capita than any other nation in the world. Yet numerous measures indicate the country lags in overall health: It ranks 29th in infant mortality, 48th in life expectancy and 19th out of 19 industrialized nations in preventable deaths. (THIS IS A NATIONAL DISGRACE. HOW CAN AMERICANS LOOK WITH PRIDE TO THIS FAILURE AND ENJUSTICE TO IT'S PEOPLE?)

adopting electronic medical records

This will be huge. A friend of mine lost her husband and father of 3 (at age 41) to stomach cancer and has been pushing hard for this. There was some miscommunication between doctors and this cost precious time in his diagnosis. 

adopting electronic medical records

This will be huge. 

Good example of need for such a system. That is one of the great successes of the VA system. Why it has not been adopted nationally is due to the involvement of private insurers. Just one of the many inefficiencies and cost increases caused by these groups that only take away from health care.

Just how do we get the masses to become active on this critical issue of health care? If we could empress on all that unless they are a vet or old enough to be protected by Medicare they are just one health crisis away from financial ruin and that is true even for those that feel they are covered by insurance.
That fact should be enough to cause them to be concerned and to act in bringing about the same protection enjoyed by vets and the elderly for all. Whatever we wish to leave for our kids and grand kids this is the most valuable. Freedom from the shackles of insurance companies and fear of life long debt from a health care event.

This is NOT just a worry for some one else it is a matter for all of us. While I happen to have the VA my loved ones and yours are laid open to the whims of the insurers or to possible bankruptcy at some point in their lives. How can we stand by and allow that to hang over their heads?

I urge everyone to check and see if their congressional  representative has signed on as sponsors of H.R. 676. Almost 100 of them have. If not ask them why they will not provide this protection for your loved ones. 

 On the earlier post I failed to list an easy way to find out if your representative is a sponsor and a short way to do so:
There is an easy way to do this and to contact your representative and urge them to represent your interest rather than the Insurance companies that donate millions to their campaigns. Use the following:
We already have a good model in place in the Medicare system, it just needs structuring in order to pay for it, and it'll be a lot cheaper than the system(s) we have now. With an 80/20 coverage the private insurers could still market highly regulated "medicare supplement" plans.
We already have a good model in place in the Medicare system, it just needs structuring in order to pay for it, and it'll be a lot cheaper than the system(s) we have now. With an 80/20 coverage the private insurers could still market highly regulated "medicare supplement" plans.
Absolutely and increased efficiency as well as huge savings. We know that a majority of Americans support a Single Payer system. The challenge is how do we get them to rise up and demand the true fix which is removal of Insurance companies. It will take a huge movement by the masses to get congress to work for the best interests of the people rather than the insurers who own them. The insurers bought their support through the big donations to their campaigns.
Some have talked of a big march on DC but that works a hardship and much expense on people. And they seem to have lost much of there ability to move measures. Perhaps we should organize a nation wide march in every community on a set date and time ending with a huge finale. That would show congress the extent of public pressure they had better not ignore.     

 Stories like the following are not the exception but the rule in the richest nation on earth. Our health care system when measured with all the industrialized nations ranks a poor 37th in caring for its citizens. 

December 26th, 2008 2:59 pm
'Sicko' role propels Adrian Campbell Montgomery to seek universal healthcare

By Kristin Longley / Flint Journal

HARTLAND TOWNSHIP, Michigan -- Adrian Campbell Montgomery couldn't be more thankful for her five minutes with "Sicko."

The Flint Journal profiled the cancer survivor in May, when she used her role in the Michael Moore documentary as a political springboard to run for a Board of Commissioners seat in northern Livingston County.

She lost the election to Republican David Domas, but Montgomery now says the publicity allows her to raise awareness for what she considers her life's mission: universal health care for all U.S. citizens.

"It's a story that we hear all too often," said Montgomery, 26, a Hartland High School graduate. "People can't afford health care. I've been there once, and I don't want to go there again."

Montgomery is using every opportunity to speak publicly about health insurance and the war in Iraq and has traveled to Boston, New York and Washington, D.C. She even bleached her hair as part of a fundraiser for an anti-war group.

And despite her efforts to the contrary, Montgomery and her daughter, Aurora, 5, are again without health insurance.

In 2007, moviegoers watched the then-single mother make a run to the Canadian border in "Sicko" to illegally seek medical attention after being denied coverage for cervical cancer treatments.

Her health insurance horror story was one of several featured in Moore's documentary, which often blasted the inadequacies of the U.S. health care system compared with those in other nations.

Montgomery later married and was insured through her husband, Randall, until his employer recently dropped worker coverage because of the economy.

"I pray every single day that (Aurora) doesn't get sick," Montgomery said. "A move to Canada most likely will happen. I don't want to leave, but I might not have a choice."

The daughter of two UAW retirees, Montgomery said she comes from a typical blue-collar family struggling to make ends meet. Her parents lost their home to foreclosure, her sister has $30,000 in medical debt and her brother, Lance Campbell, a 2007 Hartland High School graduate, serves in Iraq.

Thought you might find this interesting (From MSNBC First Read)

Tapping Obama’s grassroots army: Is this a sign of things to come? The Washington Post reports that, in the Obama team’s first attempt to use its grassroots network to shape public policy, likely HHS Secretary/Obama health-care czar Tom Daschle yesterday held a conference call with 1,000 supporters to solicit ideas on health-care reform. “The health-care mobilization taking shape before Obama even takes office will include online videos, blogs and e-mail alerts as well as traditional public forums. Already, several thousand people have posted comments on health on the Obama transition Web site.”

This may just be the only way of beating the special interests that will not give up their golden goose of profits from the sick. They are asking for exact reform ideas without complications. They to not want to end up with another Medicare part D Debacle. 

In keeping with that I offer this simple and uncomplicated reform that is tested and proven. Adopt the VA system for all citizens.     

By applying the high-tech tools and grass-roots activism that helped him win the White House, Obama hopes to circumvent many of the traditionally powerful special interests that have quashed previous health-care reform efforts.

From  a book I read:

From 1940-1980 most states had laws requiring  that hopsitals be nonprofit organizations and take in anyone who showed up.They also had laws that required health insurance companies to be nonprofit. Blue Cross for ex. had began as non profit. Thinking behind it was we don't want someone making a profit off of our healthcare. Reagan, Bush &  Clinton began defining healthcare as a privelege, not a right. Public hospitals started being replaced by private hospitals. Nonprofit ins. was gradually replaced by for-profit ins. People like Bill Frist's father were able to aquire great wealth-literrally billions by privatizing the commons of health care and squeezing all the cash that theycould out of previously public hospitals. Of the other 36 fully industrialized democracies in the world, every single one of them has concluded that health care is a right. The U.S is the only country in which this debate is still going on.    

Thank you for that informative post. Isn't it odd that no one would think of making our police or fire protection as FOR PROFIT and yet one of the most essentials of life has been turned over to those whose bottom line is profits and not care for the sick and hurt? Below is just a bit of this one persons experience with our shameful system: 

Sunday, January 11, 2009
Accountability is for Every Street but Wall Street ...by Donna Smith

WASHINGTON, DC – Imagine my surprise when I turned on the television to see Elizabeth Warren of Harvard on Good Morning America making the pitch that we should have some Congressional accountability for the billions and billions we gave to the big boys to bail them out of their financial mess.

I was on a panel with attorney and Professor Warren that testified to Congress more than 16 months ago about the damage being done to middle class, insured Americans who go belly up due to medical debt.

I adore Warren. She is a straight shooter who is trying hard to make some of these bailed-out big shots tell the truth. She is on the mark about it being pretty unconscionable that they don’t have to tell us – the people who spent our tax dollars bailing them out. No one can force them to say how they spent the money we gave them. No one. They are above the law and will prosper mightily when this is all over.

The scenario for me and my husband has been quite different. We struggled – we begged, we borrowed in some pretty unwise ways and we finally went bankrupt – due to medical crisis. We had health insurance. We had disability insurance. We had a healthcare savings account. What we did not have was a bail out. We went broke. Lost it all. Home. Stuff. Relationships with people who cannot abide the bankrupt. And any future hopes of being homeowners too – or even doing significant credit buying of any kind. We’re labeled losers. We are those evil people, you know, those dirty ones who didn’t know better or plan better for the dark days.

Seabee, I am sorry for all that has happened, that just plain sucks. The best I can say to you is, at least we have hope coming in 4 days. Join us for the 9.00 prayer, you'll be in mine.
It should not be a surprise to anyone that these vultures would show up and try to contaminate efforts to reform the health cars system which would exclude them. We must not let them once again take the nations health care system hostage.

December 17th, 2008 6:36 pm
Insurers Seek Presence at Health Care Sessions

By Robert Pear / New York Times

WASHINGTON — When supporters of President-elect Barack Obama hold house parties to discuss ways of fixing the health care system over the next two weeks, they may find some unexpected guests.

The health insurance industry is encouraging its employees and satisfied customers to attend. A trade group representing some of the nation's largest health care businesses, including drug companies, is organizing several meetings. The American Medical Association and other medical societies are encouraging doctors to get involved.

The Maine Medical Association will convene a community discussion on Dec. 30. Group Health Cooperative of Seattle has sent e-mail messages to 35,000 subscribers encouraging their participation, and one of its doctors plans to lead a session next Tuesday.


The meetings, originally envisioned as a way to make good on Mr. Obama's commitment to "health care reform that comes from the ground up," could thus turn into living-room lobbying sessions involving some of the biggest stakeholders in the health care industry.

An interesting piece about results from a think tank of sorts. Note the one rather unique idea suggested, better utilization of equipment .

Francine Hardaway

Posted December 29, 2008 | 05:01 PM (EST)

Between Christmas and New Year's I decided to try a "noble" experiment. I decided to invite people from my Facebook and Twitter networks to an Obama Health Care Reform party at my home. I want to see if the Obama administration's social networks are real, and if the information flows both ways. You have to understand that my friends are an eclectic group of everything from ordinary senior citizens to A-list bloggers to idealists barely out of their teens, because each person belongs to several categories.

We have the power to help Obama in a big way if he truly wants to produce health care reform, because we understand the virality of social networks.

One participant proposed a back door system, in which hospitals and doctors allowed use of equipment and facilities for reduced prices at odd hours in order to better use equipment. And people would pay cash -- an Underground Economy of health care.

The article set out below gives some very good reasons why Gupta would be a poor choice as surgeon general. I find them valid and hope that this appointment is not made. While he is a good man he does not seem to have the right attitude to resist the insurance and drug companies lobbyists. That is a must if we are to reform our broken health care system.

I urge everyone to read this entire article.

No Way, Sanjay
Dissident Voice - Santa Rosa,CA,USA
Michael Moore made a major contribution with Sicko — one of the best documentaries of our generation. Mike Moore is a controversial guy, ...

Seabee, I really had no opinion about this pick. But after reading that article tese parts struck me:

How about a Surgeon General nominee who needs a root canal but has no money? Extreme pain can sometimes fill a person with empathy. Dental care, eye care, prescription drug coverage, long term care (in and out of the home) should be included in a new Single Payer System.

We are doing this to ourselves by continuing to allow the insurance companies to profiteer and deny care to those who have insurance. Those without insurance don’t stand a chance.

Our system does not work anymore, I am lucky to have good health insurance thru my husband & the teamsters. Before we gotted married a couple of yaers ago, I had to pay 50 dollars a week, 20 co pay and have a referral to see a specialist or have any tests(MRI, sonograms, etc.) Now I pay nothing except for $5.00 on Generics(both my medicines come in generic. I also don't need approval to get an MRI either or pysical therapy. I can tell you that I wish everyone had this kind of insurance, it save a lot of heartache,  time & money.

  

I can tell you that I wish everyone had this kind of insurance, it save a lot of heartache,  time & money.

I too am fortunate because the VA takes care of my health care needs. But just because you and I are OK , as you said, does not prevent us from being concerned about all the others who are not as fortunate. And how can we accept that 18,000 of our fellow citizens die each year for lack of care? And why should everyone have to either having served in the military or get old enough to be protected by Medicare or as in your case be covered by your husbands company. 

Even our children face possible bankruptsy and loss of their homes from one  health care crisis.    

Exactly, just like the Canadian said of their insurance it's the right thing to do. IMO healthcare is a right, not a privilege or responsibility. Any  citizen that considers themselves a part of civilization should realize that is a right. Whereas John Mccain thought is was a responsibility. 

Excellent analysis of our health care problem especially pushing the cost up.

RJ Eskow

Posted January 13, 2009 | 07:21 PM (EST)

"Dr. Madoff" and "Dr. Countrywide": Barriers to Health Reform, Threats to Economic Recovery

"Doctors are not the problem," said Michael Moore while publicizing Sicko. But some doctors are part of "the problem." Their behavior is threatening the entire $2 trillion health economy, which in turn threatens to become 20% of our entire GDP. Their actions have affected our health and have altered the way we spend tens of billions - or hundreds of billions - of medical dollars.

When most Americans talk about health reform, they're talking about reforming the way we pay for health care. That's critical, and Michael Moore and others have succeeded in making this a high-visibility issue. But health financing reform can't succeed unless there is also an effort to create health care reform- with our country's physicians leading the way.

Attacking drug companies for their greed has become almost commonplace in the last few years. But the problem created by drug company money runs wider and deeper than just pharmaceutical costs, as staggering as those are. An interlocking web of drug manufacturers, physicians, and universities is altering all of our medical care - and everyone's personal health

Having just been discharged from the VA hospital I am more and more determined to do whatever I can to get the same marvelous health care I enjoy for all my fellow citizens.

 The following resulted from that call for ideas and ways to reform our broken health care system.

Thursday, January 15, 2009
2.6 Million New American Jobs and a Working Healthcare System ...by Donna Smith

The nation's most trusted healthcare professionals published their long-awaited study this week that shows 2.6 million new jobs created following the implementation of a single payer - publicly funded, privately delivered -- healthcare system. The National Nurses Organizing Committee and California Nurses Association study also found that establishing a national single-payer style healthcare system would provide a major stimulus for the U.S. economy by infusing $317 billion in new business and public revenues, with another $100 billion in wages into the U.S. economy.

Wow. While the new Obama healthcare transition team works on how to expand and protect the for-profit health insurance industry and mandate that uninsured Americans purchase coverage, nurses stayed on the side of patient advocacy and honoring the President-elect's vision of healthcare as a basic human right .

 For many years, many leaders, including Obama, have told Americans that single-payer is the right thing to do but that it is not politically feasible. It's too hard to make those pesky special interests take a back seat to human rights, they muse.

Single payer = 2.6 million jobs -- $317 billion in new business and public revenues -- $100 billion in wages

Nurses went to work and asked more questions to answer the call the Obama team put out to "think big" and send us the ideas you have. It's a ground-up sort of listening effort, the transition team promised. The nurses have long battled for single-payer healthcare reform on the basis of patient care, patient safety and the moral imperative that their profession demands. So taking on the task of giving this President the information he needs to back up what he knows is right was a natural undertaking.

 Thanks Kelly yes this is an exciting new way of gleaning out ideas and getting comments from the grass roots. One suggestion was interesting proposing a "Health Corps". I submitted my comments and will continue to do so. Hopefully the comments of hundred of thousands indicating their high interest will offset the heavy lobbying of the health insurance providers. 

This provides another way for us to bring pressure on our representatives.

I just added a comment in a different thread on the Surgeon General thread that is applicable here. Just the link without my added commentary or quotes:

How Universal Health Care Changes Everything

Also an assessment from Nov.:

U.S. - Not getting what we pay for

"When it comes to medical care, the United States isn't getting its money's worth. Not even close.

"We're not getting what we pay for," says Denis Cortese, president and chief executive of the Mayo Clinic. "It's just that simple."

Very interesting article (US not getting what we pay for)and affirms what I have often said.  Attack costs at the core.  Preventention, maintenance, diet, etc can stem or eliminate millions in healthcare dollars.

We as a nation need to focus on our individual health - exercise and put down the fast food  and cigarettes(tongue in cheek).  Just think if we were a less obese nation what that would translate to in terms of healthcare savings. 

Are we willing to do that?  Now it does not solve everything wrong with our system but should be a cornerstone in any type of healthcare system.

from cdc.gov:

Percent of Obese (BMI > 30) in U.S. Adults
<previous next> play stop Obesity map. For data, see PowerPoint or PDF linked above.

  

One way to eliminate costs at the core would be to remove the potential for profit from insurance companies.  Insurance companies should not profit at all on the healthcare decisions of individuals.  Health insurance should be provided through non-profit organizations.

Oh, and almost every single person that I have personally ever known who has had cancer has been young and in fabulous health when they were diagnosed.

Some serious costs I know about are all of my friends and acquaintances who have multiple births and therefore have a few babies who stay for months in the NICU.  We don't want to limit the care for those babies, do we?

I don't think I mentioned once about cancer even though I mention cigarettes.

Obesity primarily affects cardiovascular and endocrine systems.  Reducing obesity rates improves health and can save dollars and lives.

As I stated before - this should happen regardless of the type of healthcare system we have.

 

BTW - asking for people to be responsible by eating healthily and exercising is a long way from 'limiting care for those.'    You must have some highly potent water in your parts.

Apparently, you missed my point.  Your message just seemed to be that preventative care was a panacea for all that ails the American healthcare system.  I just made separate points about what some of the costs are. 

You also didn't read my message well enough to get my point about premature babies, and I can't figure out why you brought up water in relation to premature babies.   My point is just that there are just some huge costs in healthcare that are just going to be there no matter what.

There is no one who is arguing with you that Americans are not too fat.  That is well documented.  What are you going to do about it?

I noticed that you ignored what I wrote about insurance company profits...

You missed my point if you took away that obesity is a panacea.

Insurance profits do not affect the cost of developing/manufacturing of drugs, research, FDA, avaiability of medical staff, etc.

You sidestepped my argument for one way reducing costs and presented another one of your own.  Why do you care if I didn't respond to your argument about insurance companies.

Should I have responded about how you would like to put thousands of hardworking Americans out of a job b/c you don't like insurance companies?  (see your response about babies in the NICU)

Do you work for an insurance company because you sure are a cheerleader for them.  Insurance profits and the companies' overhead is a good percentage of American healthcare costs.

And thousands of hardworking Americans would not be out of a job if the insurance company did not make a profit.  A nonprofit would still be able to pay salaries.   I don't understand your logic in this assertion.

 

How am I cheerleading for them b/c I show a rational reason for how insurance profits don't affect certain large healthcare costs?

That was just a retort to your inflammatory statement about  if I would support babies being denied care WTF?  Obviously you didn't the purpose behind my ludicrous statement. (It was to highlight that in your statement).

However goind down that vein - do you think companies are just willing to change their structure - public companies that have shareholders/investors?  

 I wholeheartedly agree admin costs each a large % of costs/budgets.  Please let me know where I have stated otherwise.

If you cannot have a rational discussion without flying off the handle and making baseless accusations then perhaps we should just not respond to each others posts.  I prefer to have adult conversations/civil discourse rather than hurl this types of verbal grenades. 

Have a pleasant weekend. 

I never said that YOU PERSONALLY wanted to deny care for babies.  I am just saying that we now have quite a few patients who are costing us all millions of dollars and that all of the preventative care in the world is not going to prevent that.  I just used babies as an example.  I could have used the example of how we try to extend the lives of many people whose bodies have given up on them.  I am not saying we should or should not do anything in particular.  I'm just pointing out part of why our health care costs are high.

We agree that many if not most people are too fat.  I don't know of a fix for this situation.  I am willing to hear what yours is.

I understand that it is not likely that companies with shareholders/investors are going to change their structures.  It still doesn't make it right that they sometimes have a vested interest in letting a particular individual die or not receive the best care so that it will increase profits.

C Tx Mom,

Thank you for that explanation.  I know in a written forum that is hard to convey a message as I may interpret differently that what you meant it to be.  I did take it personally so again thank you for the clarification.

I completely understand your point about a profit motive determining life or death.  That is wrong, wrong, wrong. However at this time we do have a power, little as it may be to switch insurance, or worst case sue for negligence.  If the government is now in that position as is the case (and my understanding) with single payer universal health systems, where is the recourse.  In other words, how do you fight city hall?  Given the bungling of major disasters and other large scale programs, I just don't have the faith our gov't can pull it off.

I certainly hope that there is some compromise that can utilize the best of both to remove waste, cost, provide results, and culpability, to service our public without rationing or planned wait times for services.

 We have to address the cost of healthcare as well.  Changing how we pay for it is useless if we don't.

 

"However at this time we do have a power, little as it may be to switch insurance, or worst case sue for negligence."

Actually, this statement has issues.  I am the Human Resources Manager at my company.  We offer one plan.  The employee has no option to switch insurance.  You get what we offer.  Granted, an employee can refuse our insurance and buy their own, but that would be prohibitively expensive.  Health insurance for a family is approximately $12,000 per year for premiums only and before deductibles and co-pays. 

And suing for negligence can only happen after you are wronged by the insurance company.  It sure doesn't help much when you are dead.

From what I understand, our U.S. senators are very happy with their health care.  Obama has proposed that we could potentially offer the same care to the rest of the citizens in the country.

FWIW - I don't believe our ability to purchase healthcare should be tied to employment.  That to me would make insurance companies more responsive to our needs (if we are to stay within this type of system).

I am just not convinced that the care US senators receive is what will be available to the masses.  I do not see how it is that scalable.  If so then why is there a separate Medicare system along with Part C that allows for private purchase?  Why is not at least now the same health insurance?

How do you know it won't just be extension of the current Medicare system?  

Given the bungling of major disasters and other large scale programs, I just don't have the faith our gov't can pull it off.

True, but we're moving from an administration headed by a guy who didn't like details and put a horse guy in charge of FEMA to someone who lost his mother to, among other things, apathetic health insurance companies who risk their customers' lives to trim costs. If Obama can pull this off, we may see the compromise you seek-- and, he wasn't planning on converting the entire system wholesale, last I checked.

One thing I've learned from this past campaign from a comedian-- and he was being serious-- is that even though companies and governments gain a reputation for incompetence, the problem usually isn't the organizations per se-- it's the people who work therein. Because the ones at the top so often run from responsibility, we tend to foist the responsibility on the entire group, which may or may not deserve it.

Here's the clip-- he stutters and swears like a sailor in real life, so that part of him isn't an act. The point he made (35:30 into the clip) was in response to a guy with a stream-of-consciousness statement that ended with "the problem with Amtrak is that it's government-run".

----

And there's no sense crying over every mistake
You just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake.

Are you willing to roll the dice every 4 years?
Not if the head honcho's management style is anything like Bush or Clinton. ;)

I think the point that I lost up there is that somewhere along the line we stopped holding organizations accountable to us, whether it's corporations (Enron, Adelphia, etc.) or government-- much of that has to do with them always disclaiming any responsibility whatsoever, especially if the stupidity or malice came from the top. That, above anything, I believe, is the biggest contribution to the distrust of government by conservatives and the distrust of corporations by progressives.

----

And there's no sense crying over every mistake
You just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake.

Htere are a lot of factors that contribute to they way we eat, exercise, etc. It's not like it was when our parents & grandparents were growing up. One parent was home to feed weel balanced meals, make the kids go out and play. NOw both have to work, which gives people little time to do the right  things, ordering a pizza saves time, kids play video games. Also the crap that is made for food these days all in the name of quick and easy meals, makes it very hard to try and stay healthy.   No one has the time anymore, because we are slaves to the system.

I am sorry Hope I don't buy that excuse.

Both my parents worked and we had a homecooked dinner every night at the dinner table except Fridays (pizza) and Sundays were leftovers from lunch.

It may require planning and giving up some time but I would think our children's health and our own should be worth it.

Mary and I may disagree on a lot, but this one we agree on.  My husband and I work full time, I don't feed my kids crap all the time (yeah, they do get some every now and then).  There really is no excuse for feeding a child too much fast food or other junk.  On busy nights, it is easy enough to make scrambled eggs for dinner.  And it is a parent's responsiblity to make sure that the kids aren't planted in front of the tv or video games.

The buck stops with the parents.  The problem is that we can't go into each person's house and dictate how they raise their children.

First of  all it is not an excuse, it's mostly true for a lot of people. It is just one of the reasons why people are fat.  When  I was a kid, I played outside, if my friends weren't around, I could entertain myself by reading or do some hobby, not sitting in front of the television eating crap. People are stressed, they work in stressful jobs(some w/ overtime and/or second jobs), and have hardly anytime to get dinner ready, sit w/ the kids and help w/ homework, do housework or just relax. I'm just saying things are alot different these days.  I think our technology has surpassed our humanity. Everyone is in a hurry. Maybe they should stop processing crap in our food first of all, make organic foods a little more affordable and people would be willing to try a bit more. It's not the whole reason, but it is part of it.    

Actually, Hope, you just made the exact point as to how the buck stops with the parents.  It is up to the parents to ensure that the kids aren't sitting in front of the television eating crap.  If us moms and dads don't buy crap, the kids can't eat the crap.  It is just that easy.

The food doesn't have to be expensive or take a long time to fix, either.  I don't buy any organic or expensive foods.

CTM, I know what you are saying, and I know the parents are the ones to enforce such things(I don't have children). I am just siting how things have changed so much over the years that it makes it harder to parent. I have a friend that has 3 girls, she is a stay at home mom, now you would think she had all the time in the world, right? Not, with this activity and after school stuff, cleaning the house, chasing a 3 yr old around, making dinner, she has no time for herself, except when they go to bed. It seems as if life has gotten more complicated, and sometimes people take shortcuts to get just a little more time. Maybe we'll go back to more of how it used to be depending on how this economy thing turns out, maybe we will have no choice and it will be a good thing. How old are your kids? I was thinking the other day about what they teach in school now and I know my friends kids are alwasy loaded w/ homework and projects. She said she doesn't remebmer having to do all of this in her day. Any way, i'm starting to ramble, and I wasn't trying to infer that all parents do this, I just see alot of it & I just relate it to the fact that things have gotten more complicated and it seems there is always more to do.  

The reality is that all of us parents need to "man up" ("parent up?" LOL).  Yeah, it is hard to be a tough, mean mom, but it's what kids need.

I stayed home with my kids for two years and kept a friend's baby at the same time.  Staying at home will totally frazzle you.  When I am at work, I can at least go to the bathroom without taking all the kids with me.  LOL

My kids are 9 and 12 (and I have a 28yo stepdaughter).  Luckily, we are having a year where the kids are having less homework.

I'm not saying any of it is easy.  But if us parents don't make the right choices, how can we teach our children to do so?

This is exactly something I really respected in Obama.  I heard him say quite a few times on the campaign trail that parents need to turn off the tv and step up.

Good discussion. Yes I agree with that, we need good parents to teach the future of this country. I'll tell you what I miss about TV, there are very few family programs on any more. WHen I was growing up my family watched Little house on the Prairie, The Waltons, Eight is Enough. Everytime a show that is family oriented comes on, they cancel it. I'm not saying TV is bad, it should be a treat and a good treat at that. I watched tv when i got home from school, but it wasn't my only outlet for entertainment, I always enjoyed reading, my mom would buy me all the books from the school bookclub if I wanted them. And I agree, kids need structure and rules, too many don't get that, I hope OBama talks alot about it, I wish they would teach parenting in high school too, so that they have some skill or knowlege in how to start raising kids, too many have them too early and get frustrated when they do not know what to do.   

All this deviates a bit form the topic of the nation's healthcare system. Yes of course parents should feed their children healthful diets and everyone should get some exercise.

As a person buying insurance on the open market, I can tell you the system is broken. Unlike those that are "stuck with their employers plan" (at least they automatically qualify for coverage whatever it is) when you have to buy private insurance on the open market it is a whole new ball game, and the rules are stacked against you.

If you have any health condition, no matter how common or treatable, it will be excluded from your plan as well as any potential complications via riders. Because of said health condition and despite the exclusion, your premium is twice the rate it might have been.

If you've sought medical advice for a condition that turned out to be nothing of concern, and you report it honestly on a form, you will still be excluded from coverage on anything potentially related to the non-existent problem, and you will pay higher premiums - just in case....

Employer provided healthcare is in effect a tax payer subsidized system because the corporation gets a tax write-off on the amount they spend on employee coverage. Add to that the systems of medicare, medicaid, the VA, local, state and federal government employees, Bureau Indian Affairs, the military, public education etc etc, we already have over 65% of the US population on taxpayer provided healthcare.  Of the other 35%, over half of them have no coverage at all, thereby increasing  the costs of healthcare all round for the rest as we pay higher premiums and higher fees to help cover the costs of defaulted healthcare fees.

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