Thursday, September 17, 2009

Rep. Weiner (D-NY9) On The Bad Baucus Bill: Thanks, But No Thanks

Now, you MAY (as I did) need to watch that clip more than once as there is a LOT of info in there (both speakers are rapid-fire verbalists!).

And from Dr. Howard Dean, STERN and alarming words on the Baucus bill (hat tip to slinkerwink at dKos):

Howard Dean, former Democratic National Committee chairman, minced no words about Sen. Max Baucus's healthcare proposal, unveiled to the public this morning. "The Baucus bill is the worst piece of healthcare legislation I've seen in 30 years," Dean said last night at a healthcare town hall and book signing in Washington. "In fact, it's a $60 billion giveaway to the health insurance industry every year," he said. "It was written by healthcare lobbyists, so that's not a surprise. It's an outrage."

"I'm glad Senator Rockefeller is not going to vote for it. I wouldn't vote for it at all under any circumstances," Dean added. Instead, Dean said Senate Democrats should and would end up using the reconciliation process to pass a plan with the public option. "It can be done, and that's how it will be done," Dean said, pointing out that a majority of Senate Democrats still support a more robust bill.


One important thing Weiner mentioned as getting traction: Buy ins to Medicare by age-chunks over some time period.

Wyden and Weiner have bills that will be heard/voted on on the house floor soon.

Tomorrow I will be discussing these.

In the meantime... PLEASE continue to call your senators and reps. You can use the FREE 866 number: 866-338-1015. If you do not know your reps/senators, go here.

Here's what to tell your senators and reps (this is simple, really it is!):
  1. Hello: my name is _____ and I am a constituent of yours from __(your city)__.
  2. I am calling to tell you to support a health care reform bill that has all of the following:
  • No triggers. And, BTW, we need to have a bill that kicks in prior to 2013.With 50 people/day going into medical bankruptcy, 1400/day losing their insurance because of job loss or personal income issues, we simply cannot wait. One American dies every 12 minutes because they cannot get health care help. That is immoral and wrong and it MUST change immediately.
  • No co-ops. As Senator Rockefeller (D-WV) has noted after investigation, and as the CBO (PDF) has indicated, there are NO successful health care co-ops in the nation and their impact would be unsubstantial.. (go here for info on Rockefeller's co-op information.)
  • MUST have a competitive medicare-like public option given there is a MANDATE to be insured. This will cause increased competition and keep costs down.
  • NO "Pilot Programs". All these do is delay what we need.
PLEASE call.

It is only pressure that gets things done. Be that squeak that gets things done!

Permission given to copy this post with no attribution necessary. PLEASE put on your blogs, or link this post to your friends/family who are interested in health care reform. We ONLY get things done BY doing them.

As Thom Hartmann says, "Tag... you're it."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kaiser Outlines Future of Health Ins. And It Ain't Pretty

For those who are confused about what the future means in terms of health care costs (as well as the past relative to income), you need to read the new information from Kaiser Family Foundation (if you don't know, Kaiser is the largest non-profit health care provider in California).

The first number was the average cost of a family health insurance policy in 2009: $13,375. To put that number in context, if you are an employer, you can hire an employee at the minimum wage for about $15,000 per year. If you are a consumer, you can rent an average two-bedroom apartment nationwide for $11,136 per year (though it is quite a bit more here in Menlo Park, California where our Foundation is based). You can also buy a new Chevy Aveo for $12,000, and it gets 35 miles per gallon on the highway.

Let's do some very simple arithmetic. Start with a fairly conservative assumption: If we assume that premium increases over the next ten years will average what they did over the last five (about 6.1% per year), the average premium for a family policy in 2019 will be $24,180. That's a big number. On the other hand, if we assume increases revert to the average of the last ten years—an average annual increase of about 8.7% and a very plausible scenario—premiums in 2019 will average a whopping $30,803, a very scary number (Figure 1).

Now I know some of you may not even blink at this information, but most of you will probably be aghast. When my health insurance costs would be double that of my mortgage, something is dreadfully wrong.

Here's another nifty video on United Health Group. Think their CEO will take a nice hefty pay cut just to help? Yeah... right.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

US Physicians Across All Specialties and Geography Support Public Option

Well, now. It would appear that those physicians claiming that doctors not only don't like Medicare but don't support a public option are incorrect.

A new study released today shows they do, in fact, support both:

Overall, a majority of physicians (62.9%) supported public and private options (see Panel A of graph). Only 27.3% supported offering private options only. Respondents — across all demographic subgroups, specialties, practice locations, and practice types — showed majority support (>57.4%) for the inclusion of a public option (see Table 1). Primary care providers were the most likely to support a public option (65.2%); among the other specialty groups, the “other” physicians — those in fields that generally have less regular direct contact with patients, such as radiology, anesthesiology, and nuclear medicine — were the least likely to support a public option, though 57.4% did so. Physicians in every census region showed majority support for a public option, with percentages in favor ranging from 58.9% in the South to 69.7% in the Northeast. Practice owners were less likely than nonowners to support a public option (59.7% vs. 67.1%, P<0.001),> it. Finally, there was also majority support for a public option among AMA members (62.2%). [emphasis mine]

I strongly suggest that you read then take the journal report with you to town hall meetings, and also send it to your representatives and senators.

This is very powerful stuff.

Hat tip: Helenann dKos

Saturday, September 12, 2009

President Obama's Saturday Address On Healthcare

First, here's Robert Reich on the Public Option, this is about 2:25, and he breaks it down into the most simple of terms. Very helpful.

Here's President Obama. This is about 4 minutes long and wonderful.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

For Your Viewing and Listening Pleasure...

Link is here. (very photo heavy)

BTW, when the link comes up, click of full screen. Nicer that way:)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Shelter Animals Need Adopting

The fires in CA recently stuffed every single shelter, boarding facility and wildlife rehab center. In addition to animals who have lost their families because of the economy and/or home foreclosure--and in addition to those being born to animals not spayed and neutered--more than ever, dogs, cats and bunnies need help.

Here are a couple of really neat videos on the topic. The first is from HSUS... a little sad at first, but has a happy ending!

This one, Ode to the Station Fire, is a shortie (you tube)... The scene inside a local shelter is pretty amazing.

Adopt Some Love! Adopt a shelter or rescue animal! Don't breed or buy while shelter animals die.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Pres. Obama Kicks In On Health Care

This is but an intro to what he might talk about on Wednesday (BE SURE and watch it Wednesday).

Here ya go, and he is just warming up. From Cincinnati today:

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Health Care Reform and "Triggers": No, And Why

As many of you know, the issue of triggers--a mechanism for compelling the institution of a public plan for health care after we give insurance company giants one more chance to be good--are being talked about again.

This is a short and well done piece from Firedog Lake explaining what triggers are, and why they are bad, with extensive linking. As you may or may not be aware, Olympia Snowe (R-ME) has proposed the idea in the ongoing mess that is the US Senate Gang of Six (3 dems, 3 republicans) from the Finance Committee working on the remaining congressional bill.

This is important to know in light of Obama's upcoming Wednesday talk on health care. Knowing the basics will help you to discern what is going on and why.

The stakes are very, very high. If we cannot provide a good, medicare-like public option that is affordable (some suggest no more than 2.5% of income), we will not have this chance again for decades. The poor, the uninsured will remain so and out of range for health care.

For those with insurance, the costs are rising an average 4.4 times faster than pay. That is obviously unsustainable for everyone but the very rich.

We are facing the multi-headed hydra on health care and unless we knock down every additional compromise as they spit and hiss at us, we won't win. And we have to win.