Monday, August 17, 2009

Alaska's Congressional delegation and health care reform

The July Dose of Reality tackles the stance of our US senators and representative on health care reform. Davis sums up their approach: "According to its own statements, Alaska’s Congressional delegation hopes to kill meaningful health care reform this year." First, the Republicans:
We have not heard much from Representative Don Young on this issue, but Senator Lisa Murkowski has clearly stated her opposition to the public insurance option in an article appearing June 24, 2009, in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. First, she presents a tirade against Medicare and Medicaid, playing very loose with factual information both about these programs and the changes to them being proposed by the Democrats in Congress. Then she closes with the false charges that the establishment of a public insurance option would deny the public with choice of doctors, “and leave crucial health care decisions in the hands of government bureaucrats.” Actually, a public insurance option would increase the choice of doctors over what we have now.
And then our lone Democrat, a Blue Dog:
Senator Begich clearly stated his opposition to establishing universal health care in an opinion piece published by the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner on June 12, 2009. His telling statement: “If Congress gets it right, Americans happy with their health insurance and medical care will keep what they have, while everyone will have access to affordable, quality care.” In his article, Senator Begich pointedly ignored the major issue of the moment, that of instigating a program of public health insurance.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sarah Palin on Health Care

Sarah Palin’s recent Facebook statement (Associated Press, Aug. 8, 2009) in which she called President Obama’s health plan “downright evil” suggests that she did Alaska a big favor by abdicating the governorship last month. Anyone capable of intentionally publishing such a ridiculous and obviously untrue claim lacks the ethics and moral fiber to hold any public office from dogcatcher on up, never mind one as important as the governorship of Alaska.

When Palin broke her contract (sworn to on the Bible) with the Alaska voters who put her in office, I figured that she had in mind reverting back to a public communications career as in the years of yore. As an ex-governor, she now could aspire to the role of a respected journalist and commentator on world and national affairs whose clever insights, penetrating analyses and profound judgments would earn her respect far and wide. Admittedly, this aspiration could be a little bold for a logically challenged person who sometimes found it difficult to assemble words into a meaningful sentence and who even sometimes was unable to determine when the end of that sentence had come. So was this a hopeless idea? Not in America, absolutely not!

Let’s face it, Palin knew she could easily do it. Despite various psychological weaknesses, she knew she had some nice counterbalancing physiological assets, including a pretty face, a seductively crooked smile and a hell of a wink. The key to success here was merely to pick the right audience to speak to, one to which her physical assets would hold strong appeal and to which her cerebral weaknesses would not matter squat. In other words, Palin needed an audience that liked things simple—not just simple, flat out either black or white—an audience that would suck up to the kind of emotional appeals Palin enjoyed presenting. She did not need to be speaking to that portion of the public that preferred factual information over emotional arguments. Unfortunately for her, there were a lot of people in America like that, maybe even half the population. So forget them; this would not be the audience ex-governor Palin should try to cater to, but this group’s very nature gave a hint as to the direction she go. Best to plant a sharp right heel and do a quick one-eighty away from them. Of course! Now right there in front of her was a ready-made audience already shepherded together by that great Republican leader Rush Limbaugh. This was the audience to go for. Heck yes, Sarah would be a perfect Rush Limbaugh in Lipstick.

Sarah knew that her appeal to this ultraconservative audience was already proven by her recent campaign effort with John McCain to help elect Barack Obama president of the United States. She had come out of it with maybe three-quarter million supporters (more than the entire population of Alaska) and a lucrative book contract. Pondering the issue, Sarah Palin could see that although Rush Limbaugh was the acknowledged spokesman for that group he might not continue to be. “He’s OK on talk radio but he’s an ugly ole cuss, and I betcha I can do better than him on TV, and God would want me to,” Sarah must have thought as she reached her decision to shoot for the position of hostess of the Sarah Palin TV Show or whatever the network might want to call it.

Oh it was going to be so easy, ‘cause it didn’t matter what you would say as hostess of this production. All she would have to do was do as Rush does: pick a topic, any topic involving President Obama, put on a crooked knowing smile and a sneer in the voice and make fun of Obama’s action.

Rush was good. Like just the other day on his program Sarah had heard him say that Obama was going to use several million dollars of the stimulus funds to hire people to clean up and improve the toilets in the national parks. Snickering and scoffing at this huge and pernicious waste of taxpayer funds, Ole Rush made the concept resonate across the airways as another vicious government attempt to takeover our guaranteed 2nd Amendment rights to choose or own methods and manners of bodily waste disposal in the national parks. About the time Limbaugh finished his tirade, a female caller came on air to gush, “Oh thank you, Rush, for telling it to us like it is.” Now that was Sarah Palin’s kind of woman.

Shoot, even if none of the networks wanted to shell out big bucks for her to host a TV talk show, there were plenty of other ways to rally the clueless masses. Twittering was good; 140 characters was just about right to detail any idea that she could think up. They might call her tweets “Quitter’s-Twitters,” and those missives could strike to the hearts of millions who would applaud her abandonment of the Alaska governorship. And then there was Facebook and plenty of Obamamania fumbles to attack on it. Hey, just the stupid idea of reforming health care should get plenty of mileage. “It’s evil, evil, evil,” she could say repeatedly. “We’ve got to stop Obama from trying to take our doctors and guns away. You betcha, folks, now is the time to get our country back. Evil, evil, evil.”

It really would not matter how it all worked out. Sarah was now rich and famous and also free of those nasty ethical constraints some people thought should be imposed on those serving in public office. She now could say anything she wanted, and hundreds of thousands of Americans already thought anything she said was virtually the word of God. If it really went well, those thousands would turn into millions, and if so she might consider letting Rush Limbaugh serve as her running mate in the next election.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

So what about the "death panels" we've got now, Sarah?

Mike Madden of Salon asks this question with his recent article, "The 'Death Panels' Are Already Here":
Opponents of reform often seem to skip right past any problems with the current system -- but it's rife with them. A study by the American Medical Association found the biggest insurance companies in the country denied between 2 and 5 percent of claims put in by doctors last year (though the AMA noted that not all the denials were improper). There is no national database of insurance claim denials, though, because private insurance companies aren't required to disclose such stats. Meanwhile, a House Energy and Commerce Committee report in June found that just three insurance companies kicked at least 20,000 people off their rolls between 2003 and 2007 for such reasons as typos on their application paperwork, a preexisting condition or a family member's medical history. People who buy insurance under individual policies, about 6 percent of adults, may be especially vulnerable, but the 63 percent of adults covered by employer-provided insurance aren't immune to difficulty.
Consider that, and then this news release: "New Poll Shows Canadians Overwhelmingly Support Public Health Care: Group says advocates of private system are out of touch with most Canadians".