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Clinton Obama Cleveland Ohio Debate - Health Care Battle

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Senators Clinton and Obama, bicker as you might, neither of you have proposed Universal Health Care plans.  Those who support you [plural] state a semantic argument attests to your authenticity.  Many espouse "universal" means "to affect, relate to, or include the whole."  Granted, all Americans will be changed by your plans.  However, not everyone will be insured if either proposal is implemented.

Indeed, every United States citizen can connect to the need for coverage.  Universally, we recognize we are in quite a predicament.  Whatever options are offered, the entire electorate will be forced to consider a personal response.  Universality, or an appeal to the aggregate, perhaps better defines what each of you have designed or delivered.

Have you Hillary Clinton or you Barack Obama introduced an actual Universal Health Care plan?  No.  Constituents concerns will be integrated into the agenda.  However, the proposals you have presented to the public, do Not guarantee that life for those who currently are without health insurance will be any better than it is now.  The only certainty Americans have is that some of what is will be altered, just slightly.  

Insurers will still control costs.  Pharmaceuticals can continue to profit, and the poor persons in Middle America will remain insecure, underinsured, and yes, even uninsured.  As one who for most of my adult life has not had insurance, I can assure you, that if a person lives paycheck-to-paycheck, they cannot afford insurance at any price!

I could recount the times that I lay writhing in pain, slipping in and out of consciousness; yet, unwilling to call for help for I feared the cost.  I might share the stories of how or when I went without treatment for the financial expense seemed far greater than the physical toll on my body.  I might mention my fear of an accident, or an age related concern that I need to attend to.  Preventative medicine, pooh-pooh.  I am among many who hope that my mind will control the matter.

I am among millions who still feel the repercussions of decisions made in the 1990's.  You may remember then, the headlines screamed of the impending crisis.  Employers Winning Wide Leeway to Cut Medical Insurance Benefits.  People cringed.  The then President stepped in.  I am certain Senator Clinton you recall the day.  Bill Clinton appointed his wife to head a panel, which promised to better circumstances.  

Yet, fight as you say you did Hillary Clinton your combative energies did not cure what ails society.  What was, is.  Circumstances convened more than a decade ago continue unchecked.  So long ago, Americans read of a reality they lived.  Today, this phenomenon is normal.

A rapidly growing number of victims of cancer, AIDS and other serious illnesses are discovering that under recent court interpretations of a law that was originally intended to protect employees' benefits, their insurance coverage can evaporate when they need it most.

The recent [1992] Federal court rulings have given employers that now act as their own insurers wide leeway to cut back on existing coverage -- or to skimp on coverage in the first place.  These "self-insured" employers, a large majority of companies from giant corporations to an increasing number of smaller businesses, have been exempted from state insurance laws governing what ailments insurance companies must cover. . .

At the same time, a Supreme Court decision has made it much harder for patients under all kinds of health insurance plans to sue to get benefits they say have been unfairly denied . . .

In effect, the court rulings and the health plans that take advantage of them are another manifestation of a system of private health insurance in which the sick are increasingly separated from the well.

Americans have no assurance that this situation will improve.  Actually, there is ample evidence to indicate it will not.  The prospects for business are grim.  The economy suffers, as do the people.

The economic situation has become distinctly less favorable since the time of our July (2007) report.  Strains in financial markets, which first became evident late last summer, have persisted; and pressures on bank capital and the continued poor functioning of markets for securitized credit have led to tighter credit conditions for many households and businesses.

Slowing job creation is yet another potential drag on household spending. . .

The risks to this outlook remain to the downside.  The risks include the possibilities that the housing market or labor market may deteriorate more than is currently anticipated and that credit conditions may tighten substantially further.

Lest we forget, illness is the cause for one half of all personal bankruptcies.  Most of those who are infirm realized they cannot cover the debt.  These persons have health insurance.  A Harvard University study, conducted in 2005 revealed the inadequacy of many private insurance plans.  Doctors and lawyers examined the current crisis and offered, many policies offer worst-case catastrophic coverage, but little financial security for less severe illnesses.

“Unless you’re Bill Gates, you’re just one serious illness away from bankruptcy,” said Dr. David Himmelstein, the study’s lead author and an associate professor of medicine.  “Most of the medically bankrupt were average Americans who happened to get sick.”

Steffie Woolhandler, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, in an interview with the Chicago Tribune, described what many of us know but do not wish to discuss.  

"Our study is fairly shocking.  We found that, too often, private health insurance is an umbrella that melts in the rain."

Certainly, Senators Clinton and Obama you have not touched on this tender taboo in your "debate" rhetoric.  Businesses bleed.  Benefits hemorrhage; and Americans lose Health Care coverage, financial stability, or their lives.  The "Universal" not health care for all plans you each offer exacerbate or ignore what is.  Employment is provisional.  Company provided Health Insurance is more and more a luxury.  When institutions do offer the option, an individual is expected to pay a large part of the expense.  As Americans assess the plans put forth, if they bother to, your (plural) proposed policies do not offer much relief.  Sadly, for countless of the under or uninsured voters, such as I, we have been down so long, now a discussion looks like up.  In truth, talk is cheap.

Mandates that require a citizen with an uncertain salary to provide for their personal insurance needs will leave many in a legal predicament.  For the millions who struggle to survive lower rates bring them no hope.

As prices for fuel, food, and shelter rise, those who could not afford to go to the movie theatre, buy clothing, dine away from home, or vacation certainly will not find the funds to purchase medical insurance,  Gainfully, employed citizens who cannot afford to purchase beyond the basics will not be able to pay for coverage.  The tens of millions who fear a minor fall, for they know, even one Emergency Room visit can break the bank will not be moved to purchase what remains out of reach.  Please Senators, before you begin your ascent to the Oval Office reflect on what is real for most Americans.

[O]f the 47 million uninsured people in the United States, 7.3 million come from families with incomes of $75,000 or more, and an additional 6.9 million earn between $50,000 and $75,000, according to 2006 census estimates.

Some of those with moderate or high incomes may have been shut out of the insurance market because of age or pre-existing health conditions.  Researchers believe a majority are self-employed or among the growing number of Americans whose employers do not offer affordable insurance.  Their only insurance options may be high-priced individual policies.

Those comfortably covered love to discuss the individuals who waste their dollars or do not pay for what they believe they do not, or will not need.  In a recent New York Times report readers were introduced to a twenty-three year old lovely who believed she paid her way through taxes.  She smiled and spoke of the free medical clinics available to her.  Ms. Coons mused,

“I’m young and in pretty good shape,” Ms. Coons said one recent afternoon, on her way to the treadmill at the Fitness Factory in Midtown Atlanta.  “I looked at Blue Cross Blue Shield.  But the only thing I could see myself really needing it for are prescriptions and dental  . . .

She continued, “The insurance premium was more than what I would pay for my prescriptions, so I just decided not to deal with it.”

Times journalists asked Americans to consider the circumstances of those who use the system and do not pay premiums.  Fraud was implied, or a "free ride" was defined and accounted for.

Many free riders are assumed to be young and at little risk of major illness, but they do consume health care.  A recent analysis by the New America Foundation, a Washington policy group, found that 16 percent of the patients who received uncompensated medical care in 2004 had family incomes of at least four times the federal poverty level (which would currently be $41,600 for an individual and $84,800 for a family of four).

They accounted for $5.8 billion of the estimated $41.4 billion in uncompensated care that year.

However, what was not discussed was the ounce of prevention and the pounds paid for a hopeful cure.  Ms. Coons might have been me years ago.  She may not have stated or contemplated an illness, or unexpected injury.  I too appeared fit.  An interviewer might have seen me on the way to the pool.  He may inquire of my Health Insurance plan, or lack there of.  I, possibly would not have explained that I severely injured my back long ago, and then, due to the damage lost my job.  At the time, my employer feared medical charges I might incur, and now I must swim daily to remain physically stable.

In embarrassment, in my youth, I could have, would have, given a glib response.  For decades, I did not wish to speak with strangers of the bulimia I battled.  The preexisting condition that I paid for dearly, helped to affirm medical coverage was not available to me.

I know not of Ms. Coons.  I can only speak for myself.  Bulimia or other "disorders" do not burden my life today.  I do not imbibe any alcoholic beverages.  I never did.  Drugs do not deliver me from depression or dismay.  Prescription and street fare were not my medications of choice.  I have no addictions to strain my budget.  I am but one of millions who scrimps, wishes to save, finds it futile, and fears the veracity.

[T]here is also a shift to the privately insured.  Hospitals and doctors raise their fees to compensate for the losses they incur by treating uninsured and underinsured patients, and insurers pass those increases along to consumers.  A 2005 study found that the shift added 8.5 percent to the average premium.

Presidential aspirants, please ponder what the pundits have not.  Numbers on paper may look lovely.  Economists can scribble statistics on scratch paper.  Power Point presentations can graph the details in glorious color.  Experts can pen impressive essays, and America trusts that you, the candidates can eloquently deliver the text.  Yet, as you may know . . .

Neither campaign has provided enough detail about its plan to enable more than guesswork about how it might influence consumers . . . They have not detailed what kind of subsidies would be needed or who would be entitled to them.  Mrs. Clinton has not fully explained how she would make everyone comply with her plan or exactly how she would cap the amount a family would have to spend on premiums.

Each candidate would raise the money needed to subsidize premiums by rolling back President Bush’s tax cuts for high earners, taxing businesses that do not insure their workers and reducing costs through electronic record keeping, preventive medicine and chronic disease management.

But there is little certainty about how much those initiatives might save, or when. . . .  There are also questions about whether the new savings and tax increases would be enough to subsidize insurance for all who need help.

Both candidates are backed by teams of prominent economists from top universities and policy groups.  But with little real-world precedent to guide them, their assessments are necessarily an amalgam of statistical modeling and back-of-the-envelope calculation.

“In a campaign, people put out proposals that aren’t highly specified, that don’t have enough detail to model them effectively,” said E. Richard Brown, director of the Center for Health Policy Research at the University of California, Los Angeles, and an Obama adviser.  “These numbers are based on a lot of assumptions.”

In speeches, debates and dueling advertisements, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama have brandished projections that even their originators acknowledge are tenuous.

Senators Clinton and Obama, when your own authoritative advisors admit the claims are unsubstantiated, formulas are fragile, and the numbers are shaky, there is reason for concern. Stalwart as you each may be, this character trait may not be a strength in times such as these.  Lives are at stake.  Illness and injuries occur in every moment.  Accidents are not preventable.  People bleed as the two of you argue over the specifics of inadequate agendas.  

If you truly wish to insure every American, be honest with yourselves and us [the citizens of the United States].  The only genuine Universal Health Care Plan is a Single Payer, Not For Profit program.

Your passionate pleas, your tears, and talk do not comfort a citizenry or a system sick and in dire need of help.  Please, feel our pain and protect us.  We, the people need a President that cares.  Provide the preventive, practical, and profound programs.  Do not continue to play with language.  We the people languish, as either of you smile and say, "My plan provides Universal Health Insurance."  I could just cry, but I worry.  What if I were to weep endlessly?  Dehydration might send me to the hospital.  I cannot afford to see a physician, let alone the premiums you [plural] wish to charge me.

Universal Woes; Wounds, Worry, and the Source of Scars . . .

Originally posted to Bcgntn; BeThink on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 05:47 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Universally Underinsured or Uninsured (6+ / 0-)

    I crave authentic hopeful change.

    It is only the giving that makes us what [who] we are. - Ian Anderson. Betsy L. Angert
    BeThink

    by Bcgntn on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 05:48:22 PM PST

  •  health insurance isn't (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, eugene, nyceve, Bcgntn, kyril, Ivey476

    health care

    •  Prevention (0+ / 0-)

      Is this what you're referring to? It's so incredibly important. Senator Clinton talks about the "hidden tax" of emergency room visits for the uninsured; what she doesn't mention often enough is that many of these crises could have been avoided if they were attended to earlier. While I'm not totally satisfied with either candidate's plans either, Obama's plan does seem to feature preventative health care (much) more prominently than hers.

      •  Except that the people that would benefit (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tmo

        may or may not opt to be covered.

        "[G]lobalization is...increasing the efficiency of resource allocation through stronger capital markets" - Barack Obama

        by burrow owl on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 06:02:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's not about opting (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bcgntn, zbctj52

          It's about affording.

          "Opting" assumes people have a completely free choice outside of any affordability or systemic factors. Which is a fundamentally right-wing view.

          "Affording" instead understand that people's choices are limited by the economic resources available to them. Most people who will continue to be uninsured or uncared for will be those who cannot afford it. And the "opting" frame casts these people as either idiots or cheats, instead of victims who need our help.

          This is what happens when we prioritize insurance over care - we wind up speaking a right-wing language.

          I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

          by eugene on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 06:29:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  affording! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            zbctj52

            Dear Eugene . . .

            Amen!

            It's about affording.

            "Opting" assumes people have a completely free choice outside of any affordability or systemic factors. . . .

            Most people who will continue to be uninsured or uncared for will be those who cannot afford it.

             
            I hope you realize that was my message throughout the missive.

            It is only the giving that makes us what [who] we are. - Ian Anderson. Betsy L. Angert
            BeThink

            by Bcgntn on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 06:40:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  And if they don't opt in because they (0+ / 0-)

            didn't think they could afford it, then it's the poor's fault.  Like it always is.

            "[G]lobalization is...increasing the efficiency of resource allocation through stronger capital markets" - Barack Obama

            by burrow owl on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 07:04:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  A simple solution to the ER problem (0+ / 0-)

        is to require insurance companies to report the Social Security numbers of covered persons annually to the Social Security Administration.

        All uncovered persons would get a $300 credit at age 1 and $50 a year thereafter to pay for conditions that would require care under EMTALA.

        Private doctors could access this money and get paid 50% more for care than under Medicare.

        Doctors and hospitals could get paid Medicare rates for tests.

        Dear Uninsured:

            Dr. LocalPractitioner would like to inform you of a new government program.

            If you or your child....

            Just present the attached coupon you should place in your wallet or purse and we'll even give you 20% discount off the rate charged to your government health care account.

            Avoid expensive ER care.

                To Your Good Health,

                              Dr. LocalPractitioner

           

    •  my error or . . . (0+ / 0-)

      Dear CrawfordMan . . .

      Please tell the pundits, politicians and the American Medical Student Association.  I refer to the prospect as they do.

      The two Democratic candidates, Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton, would spend some $100 billion a year to provide universal health care. But the two have sparred over how to expand government coverage and whether all Americans should be required to buy health insurance.

      "I think it's imperative that we stand as Democrats for universal health care,'' said Clinton. "But Senator Obama has not.''
      The Time Has Come for Universal Health Care Barack Obama

      Universal health care refers to the idea that every American should have access to affordable, high-quality health care.

      It is only the giving that makes us what [who] we are. - Ian Anderson. Betsy L. Angert
      BeThink

      by Bcgntn on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 06:00:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That is the key (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bcgntn, zbctj52

      That simple phrase - those five words - hold the key to health care reform in our country.

      Until Kossacks understand this, they are going to continue chasing their tails. Only when they look at the reality around them, see that insurance has very little at all to do with health care, will they actually start doing something useful on health care.

      Sadly, most Kossacks don't have a clue what they're talking about when they speak of health care. Bcgntn does, of course, but it's too bad she's one of the few that does.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

      by eugene on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 06:27:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I thank you for you kindness Eugene (0+ / 0-)

        Dear Eugene . . .

        hugs and kisses on your sweet being.  I am grateful.  

        I am glad I was able to communicate as we each believe.  Americans create change.  We need to care and receive care.

        It is only the giving that makes us what [who] we are. - Ian Anderson. Betsy L. Angert
        BeThink

        by Bcgntn on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 07:30:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  CrawfordMan, I sincerely apologize (0+ / 0-)

      Dear CrawfordMan . . .

      Belatedly, I realize you did not mean to "correct" me.  I am afraid I misinterpreted your intention.  I sincerely apologize.

      In cyberspace communities, frequently, I have felt attacked.  Your comment came so quickly I thought perhaps you read my first sentence and thought I was in error.  Now I recognize you were stating as I believe, insurance provides little if any true care!

      I thank you for your instant insight.

      It is only the giving that makes us what [who] we are. - Ian Anderson. Betsy L. Angert
      BeThink

      by Bcgntn on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 06:46:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ok (0+ / 0-)

    what if they said "universally-available-and-affordable-healthcare-that-cannot-be-denied-or-taken-away-from-you"?

    2+2 = 5 : For Extremely large values of 2

    by Eidolon on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 05:51:31 PM PST

  •  Not liking Obama's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burrow owl

    My optimism lies in the states passing real Universal coverage (and more likely now in NY with Senate on the verge of turning Democratic) because I see no good health initiative coming out of Obama's plan if, in fact, he is the noominee and if he does beat McCain.

    Hillary's may not be Universal in your eyes either, but I like hers a lot and think it is a well-thought out plan where she learned from her mistakes and what is feasible and will work best.

    •  BHO strikes me as basically a free market guy; (0+ / 0-)

      his instinct is to defer to the market (hence the glowing talk about globalization in my sig).  W/re/to health care, I think the long-term idea is to show that a large risk pool via an expanded Medicare is the more cost-efficient allocator of health care.  

      Lots of people will still be unable to afford health care in the short run, but long run it'll set us up for single payer.

      "[G]lobalization is...increasing the efficiency of resource allocation through stronger capital markets" - Barack Obama

      by burrow owl on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 06:08:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Don't you see the conundrum? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bcgntn, zbctj52

      If Hillary's insurance reform is implemented, it short-circuits state level efforts to create universal health care by supposedly "solving" the problem. The wind falls out of the sails.

      And "universal coverage" is so not the point. I am "not covered" but that's not the problem. The problem is I don't have access to affordable health care. And even if I am "covered" I would likely still lack access to affordable health care.

      We have done ourselves a massive disservice by framing this issue as a "coverage" issue.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

      by eugene on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 06:24:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  conundrum (0+ / 0-)

        Dear Eugene . . .

        I attempted to explain this in the tome.  I also hoped to clarify in my response to the person who commented that the term is Universal Health "Insurance."  The correct phrase is "Universal Health Care!"

        The crisis is complex.  Far more than coverage is the issue.  People who are insured do not survive.  Once again, I offer . . .

        Lest we forget, illness is the cause for one half of all personal bankruptcies.  Most of those who are infirm realized they cannot cover the debt.  These persons have health insurance.  A Harvard University study, conducted in 2005 revealed the inadequacy of many private insurance plans.  Doctors and lawyers examined the current crisis and offered, many policies offer worst-case catastrophic coverage, but little financial security for less severe illnesses.

        “Unless you’re Bill Gates, you’re just one serious illness away from bankruptcy,” said Dr. David Himmelstein, the study’s lead author and an associate professor of medicine.  “Most of the medically bankrupt were average Americans who happened to get sick.”

        Steffie Woolhandler, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, in an interview with the Chicago Tribune, described what many of us know but do not wish to discuss.  

        "Our study is fairly shocking.  We found that, too often, private health insurance is an umbrella that melts in the rain."

        Certainly, Senators Clinton and Obama you have not touched on this tender taboo in your "debate" rhetoric.  

        It is only the giving that makes us what [who] we are. - Ian Anderson. Betsy L. Angert
        BeThink

        by Bcgntn on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 06:35:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed with all that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bcgntn

          And we need to remember that if this situation is going to be fixed, it's going to be by US. No candidate can drop the solution into our laps.

          I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

          by eugene on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 06:36:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  People are the power! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            eugene

            Dear Eugene . . .

            I cannot agree with you more.  We the people create change.  People are the power!

            No President does the work.  When we the people either endorse a belief, a policy, or a practice, the President acts.  Ultimately, we, the people bring about change.  This was true for the Civil Rights Act 1964 and sadly, for the attack on Iraq.

            We can stand up or stand by.  When I was in fourth grade, a poster in the classroom inspired me.  "To not make a decision, is to make a decision.

            It is only the giving that makes us what [who] we are. - Ian Anderson. Betsy L. Angert
            BeThink

            by Bcgntn on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 06:59:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  the real solution is true (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eugene, lefttimes

    single payer nationalized health care. Period.

    That means hundreds of thousands of insurance personnel will have to get real jobs. Filthy pig CEOs will have to find some other way to bamboozle citizens out of their money.

    Our manufacturing base has been destroyed, at least in part because of the costs of health care, making equitable wages impossible. The uneven application of health care is a moral outrage, something that will result in violence on a wide scale if it's allowed to continue.

    De-capitalize it, all the way.

    Take the profit motive out of the health care industry and make it a service, just as police and fire protection are.  

    Why am I here? I want to destroy the Republican Party. Forever. How about you? /eom

    by shpilk on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 05:59:32 PM PST

    •  I think that's basically right. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lefttimes

      Both plans have their flaws; the only question is which can better be MacGyvered into single-payer when there's political will to make it happen.

      "[G]lobalization is...increasing the efficiency of resource allocation through stronger capital markets" - Barack Obama

      by burrow owl on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 06:05:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  more open to true change. we the people! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zbctj52

        Dear burrow owl . . .

        For me, it is a matter of which candidate might be more open to true change.  I understand the caution . . . for now.  I hope if we the people speak of what is real, we will have the ultimate power, that is if we choice a President open to ideas that may not have been in the initial plan.

        It is only the giving that makes us what [who] we are. - Ian Anderson. Betsy L. Angert
        BeThink

        by Bcgntn on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 06:27:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  even the Chief Executives want Universal (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      burrow owl

      Dear shpilk . . .

      Many Chief Executives have been behind the plan for Universal Health Care for years.  I do not recall which of many articles I wrote on the topic included a reference to a Chief Executive Officer's realization after his son was in dire need.

      Some references that I cited years ago are no longer available, only due to the time a page may remain viable.  I offer a bit . . .

      As a recent Washington Post business article reported (an article that should have been on the Post's front page!), manufacturers are quietly embracing the concept of universal healthcare. While the major papers have been virtually MIA on this issue, Kirstin Downey, a Post staff writer, admirably called attention to how rising costs are roiling the debate over healthcare reform. Sen. Kerry and leading Democrats should pay close attention to this trend. It could be a very helpful issue in a close election.

      Downey reports that employers saw their healthcare costs rise 12 percent last year, on the heels of a 16 percent increase in 2002. Such dramatic increases have damaged manufacturing in America, prompted labor strikes, and encouraged corporations to ship jobs overseas.

      Back in 1994, Jack Smith, a former CEO of General Motors, went on record as "personally favor[ing] the Canadian system." Smith, an anomaly ten years ago, today looks like the weatherman who knew which way the wind was blowing. The volume and intensity of anguished, bitter public complaints by business executives about the costs and burdens of health care has grown to major proportions.

      These weren’t the only CEOs asking government to step in and solve a pressing social problem. Two and a half weeks later, Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott joined Andy Stern, the president of the Service Employees International Union, to announce his company’s support for some form of universal health care. When it comes to business’s united front against regulation, as Leo Hindery, former CEO of the YES Network and author of the book It Takes a CEO, puts it, “[These guys are] looking and saying, ‘Look, if we don’t play this global-warming thing right, heck with politics, our company’s going to get hurt. If we don’t reform health care, I don’t care if I’m a Republican, my company will fail.’ ”

      CEOs like universal health insurance
      But business can't foot bill, they say
      By Robert Gavin,
      Boston Globe
      November 2, 2005

      Chief executives of some of Massachusetts' biggest employers said yesterday that they support universal health insurance, but rejected requiring businesses to foot the bill as damaging to job growth in the state.

      Instead, said Charles ''Ed" Haldeman Jr., chief executive of the mutual fund company Putnam Investments, providing health insurance to all should be financed through an increase in individual income taxes, which he described as the fairest and broadest way to share the costs.

      Haldeman, tapped two years ago to rebuild Putnam's credibility and operations after the mutual fund market-timing scandal, made the suggestion during a panel discussion among leading Massachusetts chief executives. The discussion, tackling a range of issues on the state's economic competitiveness, airs tonight at 8 on New England Cable News.

      In an interview after the show was taped in NECN's studio, Haldeman said employer mandates put the burden on narrow segments of society -- businesses and their customers -- without regard for ability to pay. The income tax, he said, is not only broad-based but progressive, in that those with higher incomes pay more.

      Access to healthcare, he said, ''is the responsibility of us all."

      It is only the giving that makes us what [who] we are. - Ian Anderson. Betsy L. Angert
      BeThink

      by Bcgntn on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 06:23:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm going to rec this diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burrow owl

    with the caveat that I genuinely believe that Sens Obama and Clinton want to bring single payer universal health care, but in order to make any progress, they know that that sweeping change wouldn't pass a divided congress, and probably would be tough to sell to the public since the social medicine demonization of the last 30 years.  Baby steps, and their plans are just that, and in the right direction.

    •  What's the argument going to be.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ArtfromMI

      ... if Obama's our nominee? What can McCain's counter-attack be to a plan that is centered around lowering costs and emphasizing prevention? How can anyone not be on board with Obama's philosophy toward health care, when the alternative is to McCain's (which presumably, won't exist)?

      •  The thing is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        burrow owl

        that such a bill wouldn't likely pass congress unscathed.  Rhetoric aside, the President doesn't have a ton of power to unilaterally pass sweeping reforms.

        •  This assumes (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ArtfromMI

          That we would sit silently by while Congress debates.

          We would, of course, do no such thing.

          People really have this health care thing ass backwards. It's about our movement, not about what gets delivered from on high. Until we realize that and change our thinking nothing - absolutely nothing - will get done that is useful.

          I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

          by eugene on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 06:25:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  by and large (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            burrow owl

            the public would sit by and do jack shit while congress debates.

            •  So why even try? (0+ / 0-)

              You have no confidence in our ability to mobilize the public to get involved? If not, why not say "fuck it" and walk away?

              I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

              by eugene on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 06:37:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Honestly.. (0+ / 0-)

                I don't.  I see the tide changing and see interest in politics increasing with each subsequent election, but the realist in me knows that it is going to be a while before people move past the popularity contest and move into what that contest represents.  I've seen a stolen national election, which in turn led to an unjust war and watched people sit back and pretend nothing is happening.  On health care, I can't see the public rallying around what was successfully demonized as socialism, not just yet anyway.

                •  Earlier this month (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Bcgntn

                  Harvard did a poll showing that "socialized medicine" doesn't scare voters into opposing universal health care.

                  We need to stop assuming it is forever 1994. Reality has changed. We need to catch up.

                  I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

                  by eugene on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 07:14:29 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Times changed years ago (0+ / 0-)

                    Dear Eugene . . .

                    What I find humorous, or sorrowful, is that people do not understand how many corporate executives crave a government run Universal Single Payer Not for Profit plan.  Times changed years ago.  

                    In an era where the people allow George W. Bush to be the decider, much is lost. When we the people do not insist on impeachment, even when Conservative Constitutional scholars say if we do not censure we set an awful precedence, then we know there is a problem.  

                    Please America remember, this democracy was intended to be of, by, and for the people.

                    We are the power!

                    It is only the giving that makes us what [who] we are. - Ian Anderson. Betsy L. Angert
                    BeThink

                    by Bcgntn on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 07:24:29 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Wish I could Give This 15 (R's) (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bcgntn
          •  Amen Eugene! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            eugene

            It's about our movement, not about what gets delivered from on high. Until we realize that and change our thinking nothing - absolutely nothing - will get done that is useful.

            . . . and by the way Eugene, it is sooooooo good to see you here.  Only yesterday, I wondered where you were and how you are.

            It is only the giving that makes us what [who] we are. - Ian Anderson. Betsy L. Angert
            BeThink

            by Bcgntn on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 07:10:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  You're right (0+ / 0-)

          But the President DOES have the power to push everyone to the left a little bit. Think of the political capital that a President Obama would have right after being inaugurated following these 8 years. If he can approach health care early and without scaring everyone, don't you think he could start taking baby steps through Congress? I'm happy with baby steps fow now if I'm being totally honest.

    •  Health, A Right or a Privilege For The Few (0+ / 0-)

      Dear lefttimes . . .

      I greatly appreciate the recommendation.  

      I offer this thought.  I believe the candidates are cautious for so few share what is real or believe that dreams can come true.  People too often forget that they are the power.  We think the corporation is. Congress makes laws, or Presidents decide.  Change only comes when we stand up, speak out, and take action.

      We cannot continue to let life happen to us.

      Health, A Right or a Privilege For The Few

      It is only the giving that makes us what [who] we are. - Ian Anderson. Betsy L. Angert
      BeThink

      by Bcgntn on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 07:07:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Did Anyone Ever Consider .... (0+ / 0-)

    that this might be a front for an even bigger move toward a " Single Payer " plan ?  What if the plan(s) get bogged down in a quagmire and they can't perform as the status-quo plan . Then they would need a serious overhaul and with the proper timing a push toward single payer might be achieved . Just thinkin' .

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