Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Comedy team in health care reform

Neil's newest Dose of Reality treats the recent hearings on health care reform in the Senate:
As we watch the Senate Committee on Finance grapple with the task of how to reduce the cost of health care in the United States it is easy to get the impression that we are watching a remake of the old movie, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, a comedy horror film from 1951. The plot in the new version is thin; centering on the old-timey burlesque gag in which the players have a problem that they stumble around trying solve, not realizing that the solution—which as the watching audience is well aware—is obvious. That solution is virtually staring the Abbott and Costello company in the face, but of course these comics cannot see it, and they take humorously extreme measures to avoid looking in the right direction.

Replacing Abbott and Costello as lead comics in this modern-day version of that film are Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-Montana) and his straight man Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). The part of The Invisible Man is played by the proposal for single-payer health care, best embodied at the moment by HR 676, introduced into Congress last year and gaining increasing public support. The remainder of the cast is comprised of the other twenty-one members of the Senate committee and their staffs. Experts all, the cast excellently parodies how we in the public think our elected officials should represent our interests.
As well illustrated in an interview with reporter Mike Dennison on Democracy Now!, Baucus and Grassley are heavily funded by the health and health insurance industries, and have not been interested in a full discussion of health care reform options.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Single-payer health care teach-in at UAF

Addendum 6/30/09: this teach in was postponed and will be rescheduled.

Neil Davis is a guest speaker at a teach-in on single-payer health care systems to be held at the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus, Saturday, June 27, from 1 to 5 pm at the Boyd Berry Auditorium in the Reichardt Building (the Natural Sciences Facility).

In the midst of the health care reform debate, single-payer health care, although a system successfully used in many industrialized countries, including Australia, Canada, and Taiwan, is not even being considered by Congress. Why? Is it a viable option? How does this system work? What advantages does it have over our own? What disadvantages? How does it compare to our own system, or that of countries like Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, New Zealand, or the Netherlands? Explore these questions and others at this event.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Talk of Alaska

I will be on Steve Heimel's APRN "Talk of Alaska" program airing at 10:00 am tomorow, Tuesday, June 9. We will be talking about the progress of health care reform.

Addendum 6/9/09: a link to the broadcast is available at the Talk of Alaska website. Senator Hollis French (D-Anchorage) was Steve Heimel's other guest.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Community Perspective by Richard Seifert on universal health care

Rich Seifert's piece in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner today has provoked quite a lot of comment on the merits (or perceived lack therof) of a single-payer universal health care system. He writes this:
Davis ultimately compares our system to those of other industrialized nations, making a compelling case for a publicly financed system of single-payer national health insurance.

All the members of the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital Foundation have a copy of this book, and I hope they have all read it. It is hard to do so and not come to the conclusion that the U.S. desperately needs a universal, publicly financed health care system. What’s more though, is that we as a nation also need to totally eliminate the insurance industry’s hold on our payer system.
The comments are very interesting, ranging from the irate to the very thoughtful and informative with supporting links and references. "Stakeholder" has found some very intriguing testimony by Dr. Linda Peeno to the US House subcommittee on Health and Environment.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Davis to participate in the 3rd Alaska Book Festival

The 2009 Alaska Book Festival will be held in Fairbanks on June 11, 12, and 13, with the theme "Historically Alaska." Neil Davis will be available during the general author book signings on Friday the 12th and Saturday the 13th (4 to 6 pm each day at the Exhibit Hall at Pioneer Park) . He will also be on a panel discussion from 10 to 11:30 am on Saturday, "Writing, Publishing, and Marketing Your Book," in the theatre at Pioneer Park.