Friday, July 31, 2009

Vids: DADT and The Killer Weiner on Healthcare

First, Rachel on DADT.. excellent:

Second, if you haven't seen Rep. Weiner (NY9) kick butt in the House Energy and Commerce Committee on health care, my friend, you have missed a beautiful thing:

And of course Weiner makes me wonder WHY I live here and not in NY9.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

47 Second Fact Check on Lewin Healthcare Study

During the Congressional August recess, you need to know you are going to see and hear an onslaught of insurance company fear (cue the scary sounds) like you have never seen or heard before. Really. It's true. It's all about their bottom line which they would like to keep to themselves.

And it is about stopping healthcare reform.

This is going to be the modern Ebenezer Scrooge August. No, you can't have more. In fact most of you are going to pay more (gotten you rate increase raise notice yet?) for less, with more insurance companies telling you no.

What a bargain!

So let's stop for a moment and see what your congressional members might try to pull over your eyes in town halls while they are home. You in the south, pay particularly close attention.

Some of you may have already heard about the Lewin Study, the group the GOP has been referencing for the last month or so (30 seconds, and interesting and funny):


Alrighty then. So much for the Lewin Study. Check.

Stay tuned: Tomorrow we are going to take a look at another issue... and likewise all through August.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Howard Dean on Reform

That would be health care insurance reform. Ala Maddow, c/o dKos. Great clip.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Health Care Action for Monday

A number of Blue Dog democrats are holding up the health care bill in Henry Waxman's House Energy and Commerce Committee refusing to vote it out of committee. This is one of the three House committees which are working on the health care bill (referred to, often, as the tri-committe for the three committees and tri-care for the resulting bill).

These Blue Dogs (BDs), for various reasons, could side with republicans to crush the health care bill. We cannot let that happen. There are seven BDs on this committee that need to be targeted tomorrow through Tuesday, but preferably tomorrow (Monday, July 20).

The next action is to use a letter writing form tool to connect with newspapers that can help influence these legislators. The form tool will send automatically to the various papers, and is VERY easy to use.

1. Click on the legislators below, that will link you to the form tool for that legislator.
2. Fill in the contact information, EVEN if you are NOT in that legislator's state. Be sure and do your own legislator, however, if they ARE on the list.
3. Click through to begin the letter. PLEASE customize and personalize your letters... this is VERY important. Editorial page editors can sniff letter writing campaigns a mile away (so we are told by former editors!), so customize all letters. Use the points suggested aside each letter. Take one or two points and mix it up! CUSTOMIZE!
4. Send your letter, go to the next legislator on the list and start over!

This is a critical step because if we cannot get at least TWO of these Blue Dogs off the fence, they are expected to provide amendments to KILL the health care bills or add time/issue triggers that seriously weaken the bill.

Rep. John Barrow (D-GA)
Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR)
Rep. Baron Hill (D-IN)
Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN)
Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT)
Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-LA)
Rep. Zachary Space (D-OH)

Please write these letters today and e-mail a link to this post to anyone you like, or just lift it entirely for your own blog!

Let's get this done!

PS... If you do NOT have a rep on this list, please be sure to address both Rep Barrow and Rep Space. These two legislators may be the most movable at the moment.

Thanks to slink at dKos and everyone at FireDogLake for doing such wonderful work on this issue and helping to organize support for these bills!

Friday, July 17, 2009

PBS On The 2009 TEC Convention

My eyes about bugged-out in places when I watched this.

What do YOU see in this piece?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Please Do This For Me, I Need Your Help

Please read my story and understand why the issue of health care is so important to me. Please.

If you have not seen Moore's film, Sicko, about the health care debacle that is American insurance, you must.

You can go HERE and watch the entire film. This is a funny and powerful film that touches on every aspect of American health insurance (or not).

Then, go HERE and watch an insurance industry exec, Cigna's self-retired former Vice President of Corporate Communications, Wendell Potter, say that Moore's film was right on in an interview with Bill Moyers.

exposes the insurance companys' campaign to discredit Moore and keep me and tens and tens of millions of people like me untreated, or under-insured. And to cancel people like YOU that have insurance, at least until you need it.

Between the two of the above, I was sobbing. Still am.

Between the two films above, it explains how and why we are in the position we are in and WHY you are not safe: Even if you ARE INSURED. And Moyers discusses the politics of it all.

My Story

What you may not know is that my brother--my ONLY brother and my ONLY sibling, my mother's only son, my sister-in-law's only husband, my niece and and nephews only father--died because his insurance company was "considering" whether he could have a medical test.

During that "consideration" period, my fun, hard-working, creative and wonderful brother climbed into bed, said he did not feel well, and was dead three minutes later.

Had an insurance company not been invovled, my brother would have gone for the test, they would have easily found the problem, and he would have been immediately admitted to a hospital. He wasn't. He's dead.

I had cancer. I am a cancer survivor. I am uninsurable. I have no insurance.

When I get sick or injured, I go to the emergency room. I do my best not to and should have gone more times than I have ever gone. The terrible reality for me is that I am embarassed to ask for help at a hospital. I feel inadequate.

When I broke my arm falling from a wall onto the street, I went to the hospital. They x-rayed my arm, confirmed the break, put it in a sling, and gave me a few names of doctors to go to.

The next day, I called the doctors. They didn't take payments. I ended up calling EVERY orthopedist in Orange County and every clinic. Not one would take payments.

I left my arm in a sling. It took me almost two years to get my left arm to heal on its own and get mobility back.

When I had severe chest pains, I drove myself to the hospital. They confirmed I had had a a heart event but didn't understand exactly what had happened. They wanted me to stay in the hospital at least overnight for more tests, but because I was uninsured (I was working full time for a small company who did not offer it and I did not make enough to pay for ANY insurance that a company would offer given my cancer history), I ended up being sent home with a prescription for nitroglycerin and a warning that given where I live, if I had a serious event then or in the future, I would die.

I remain undiagnosed, and untreated. I was in the hospital for perhaps four hours. The bill was $5K. I could not pay the bill.

Those of you with insurance paid for me. That's the rip. You are ALREADY paying for health care for the uninsured, but at the highest rate possible.

Who knows how long my feet will walk this beautiful earth. I love this place. I have spent the majority of my adult life defending this beautiful place, paid, and mostly not. I have no interest in being dead. None. I am only 55. My brother died at 52. My mom is 95 and on Medicare and gets wonderful care. I know--I am with her at every appointment.

This post IS about me. This post is to ask for your help.

When you understand what is possible, and what is involved with an American health care option (or best, and cheapest) single payer health care, you will not be so afraid. And if YOU have health care insurance, you will understand YOU are not safe under the current system.

Please, for me, your friend, will you help? Will you watch the Moore film and listen to Potter talk about the insurance industry and admit that his very company, Cigna, targeted Moore's film out of fear of the truth?

Every few days I post a call list for particular states and for all states to influence politicians who are receiving obscene amounts of money to stop any form of national health care. These are calls to politicians who hold MY LIFE in their hands, and yours as well. Will you please help me--and yourselves--by making these calls?

Don't be shy. Remember, our Congress members have the best insurance in the land and we foot the tab. Shouldn't we have the same option?

I am, literally, one of the least of these. As uncomfortable for me it is to ask for help, I am asking--begging, really--for your help.

Will you help me? And if you are not willing, will you at least tell me why you won't help me, Cany?

I can take the hits.

I cannot take not knowing why people are unwilling to help. And I cannot understand why anyone would feel that calling your elected officials is, somehow, "someone else's" job.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

DADT: Movement on the Hill! (and healthcare)

Preliminary Note: Scroll down to see what action to take (in red, below) on this issue. Please note the updates at end for bill number and link to track bill.

In the middle of the legislative healthcare debacle (and if YOU have not supported folks like ME, a cancer survivor, essentially uninsurable, but are interested in DADT, please realize that no matter WHAT the issue is we have to stick together and this takes WORK. Are you fighting for ME on healcare, cuz I am fighting for YOU on DADT!), word now comes that Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy (Pennsylvania-08) (and here) a Iraq Veteran and officer, BTW, is taking up the fight through the Military Readiness Enhancement Act (MREA).

Go here and here and here to read about Murphy's engagement. [NOTE: This last link is dedicated, at this point, to THIS (DADT) issue].

Watch Murphy today (July 8, 2009) address this issue in a press conference:

"It's our job," Murphy said of a repeal. "This was an act of Congress in 1993 and it will take an act of Congress" to reverse it.

The measure got a subcommittee hearing last year, but Murphy says Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has promised him a full committee hearing on the bill this session.

And though gay-rights groups have been critical of the Obama White House for what they see as a lack of attention, advocates of repealing the 16-year-old policy see new evidence that the administration is willing to move on reversing "Don't ask, don't tell."

Here is an older video (referred to in the above highlight) which shows part of his questioning in the 2008 House hearings on DADT:

Action for Thursday, July 9:
All States:
Contact Rep. Murphy in DC.
1. Dial toll free (ask for Rep. Patrick Murphy), 1-866-338-1015.
2. E-mail Rep. Murphy, go here, use the zip code 19007 or 18901.

Message: Tell him THANK YOU for beginning, again, the repeal process for DADT. Ask how you can help him succeed! Also, PLEASE, tell him on healthcare to support a public option with no co-ops and no triggers available to all... a medicare-like plan.

This is what is reported about his healthcare stance on the public option, but remember, this is a Democratic Blue Dog, and it is important we continue to pressure him to support a good, strong public healthcare option:

"Rep. Patrick Murphy (Penn.) still backs a public plan without a trigger, said his spokeswoman Kate Hansen. "Congressman Murphy stands with President Obama in supporting the inclusion of a public option without a trigger in healthcare reform legislation, and believes it would be a good way to introduce transparency, competition, and cost-control into the insurance market," she said." --PDA, 09 June 2009

The clock is ticking. Make the calls. Send the e-mails. Get it done. Then take this information and put it on YOUR website, or link to this post, and forward it to friends and family.

UPDATE 1: Here is a very recent and good article on DADT and its history. (Update on Committee information and state x state contact info coming.)

UPDATE 2: You are perhaps wondering who the hell Elaine Donnelly is (second video). It's a good question. Here's a piece from 31 March 2009, Towleroad, and one from Lavender Newswire, 02 May 2008. In a nutshell, Donnelly is a homophobic, misogenistic whack ala Phyllis Schlafly.

UPDATE 3: The bill is HR1283. It was introduced by Rep. Ellen Tauscher (CA-10). However, Ellen was appointed to a state department position earlier this year, thus Patrick Murphy is apparently taking over the bill. GO HERE to get information on the bill, and bookmark this site as it will track history.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sunday News for Monday ACTION on HCare

Hope you had a great 4th!

Two words about Palin and Michael Jackson. Palin. Jackson. There. I'm done.

Now, go find your phone. Fire up the computer. This is a work day and we have a lot of calls to make and e-mails to send on healthcare!

Look for your state below in blue.

Headline: Insurance companies are spending $1.4 million dollars A DAY lobbying against healthcare reform. Click on the word 'headline' to read the piece. Good God, folks. If this doesn't explain part of the problem, nothing will.

Healthcare Fact of The Day: In almost 3/4 of medical bankruptcy cases, families HAD health insurance. If you are a person with health insurance and think you are immune, think again.
Connecticut: I love these short 40 second vids produced by Lee Stranahan ( They are brilliant and produced by a Connecticut guy that's just ON IT! You Connecticut folks are a fun bunch.

So... WHY NOT call Joe toll free: 1-866-338-1015... ask for Senator Joe Lieberman. Tell him you want the same coverage he has, no triggers, no co-ops, no bull! And send the link to this post to your Connecticut friends and family!

Also, you there up in the beautiful state of Connecticut, call The White House at 202-456-1111 and E-MAIL THEM!

Message to the White House: On healthcare: No co-ops, no (time-kick-in) triggers. We need a Medicare-like plan. And no, Mr. President, I will NOT back off on moderate or Blue Dog dems that are not solidly supporting a good public option. They need to be held accountable.

New York: Chuck Schumer. The man looks like wheat blowing in the wind today on good healthcare.

1. E-mail NY Senator Chuck Schumer (link to his e-mail)
2. Call Schumer's DC office. Use this toll-free number: 1-866-338-1015

Message: Do not under any circumstances support a co-op for the public option. We need a broad, medicare-like option with no triggers, affordable and available on day one to everyone that chooses to enter.

Also, New Yorkers, call The White House at 202-456-1111 and E-MAIL THEM!

Message to the White House: On healthcare: No co-ops, no (time, kick-in) triggers. We need a Medicare-like plan. And no, Mr. President, I will NOT back off on moderate or Blue Dog dems that are not solidly supporting a good public option. They need to be held accountable.

If you live in ANY of the following states, listen up!

The Senate Finance Committee is preparing a co-op healthcare plan. This means somehow, some way, someone somewhere will form a non-profit co-op (or not) that would be the vehicle (or not) we all hop on (state x state, or county x county or???? so no benefit in economy of size when negotiating for drug or care benefits, for instance) to insure ourselves. Bad idea, bad plan.

In four words: Co-ops are a MESS!

Use this toll free number to contact your Senator, regardless of state: 1-866-338-1015, ask for your senator by name.

Click on the name next to the state to take you to each e-mail and state contact info page.

Arkansas: Blanche Lincoln
Delaware: Thomas Carper
Florida: Bill Nelson
Maine: Olympia Snowe (when you get there, click on the contact button)
Massachusetts: John Kerry
Michigan: Debbie Stabenow
Montana: Max Baucus
New Jersey: Robert Menendez
New Mexico: Jeff Bingaman
North Dakota: Kent Conrad
Oregon: Ron Wyden
Washington: Maria Cantwell
West Virginia: John Rockefeller

Call AND e-mail your senator in the above states.
Message: NO on the Conrad Co-Op Compromise
, adding...
  • I do NOT want any trigger--7 year or otherwise--for the public option, take it off the table.
  • Don't tax our employer health benefits to pay for this.
  • We need a strong, affordable Medicare-like public option open to everyone ON DAY ONE.
Remember, you are in the driver's seat. This is YOUR senator.

For those of you that do not have a senator on the above list, these are ALL committee members and, as such, on committee business, they represent YOU, TOO. Pick a name or two or 13, call them and write them.

We have an opportunity this year to do what FDR wanted to do decades ago: Provide a means for everyone to see a doctor and get needed medical care. If we let this chance go, it may not return for decades and many of your friends and family may, like me (a cancer survivor with no insurance), not live to see that day.
  • A public option would allow for people to keep their insurance, if they like it, and bail if they don't.
  • A public option will help curtail medical bankruptcy.
  • A public option is the sane way to shut down an insurance industry which is designed not to protect you, but to make money--A lot of money.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tuesday News for Wednesday ACTION on HCare

Come on folks, we CAN do it. BE the change! Look down the list depending on your state. MAKE these calls AND send an e-mail. KEEP doing it.

This post has actions for EVERYONE (at end), but some specific state actions are called out.

For Californians: I called every office of CA Senator Dianne Feinstein today (more about that tomorrow when I do the same thing again).

But here is what you need to do tomorrow, Wednesday:

1. Call Feinstein's DC Office. Use the toll free number: 1-866-338-1015, ask for her office.
Phone: (202) 224-3841
Fax: (202) 228-3954

This message is short and sweet:

I want a public option and nothing else.
No co-ops
No time triggers (for bill provision(s) to begin)
Medicare-like plan open to all, day one.
Get off the dime and DO something to support your CA constituents.

2. Call your local Feinstein office.
San Diego
Phone: (619) 231-9712
Fax: (619) 231-1108

Phone: (559) 485-7430
Fax: (559) 485-9689

San Francisco
Phone: (415) 393-0707
Fax: (415) 393-0710

Los Angeles
Phone: (310) 914-7300
Fax: (310) 914-7318

3. Call one or more of the people on the Senate HELP (health, education, labor and pensions) Committee (the committee is working on health care leg in the Senate so it is important to understand that you do NOT have to be a constituent of theirs on this issue). Personally, I suggest focusing on Kay Hagan (D-NC) (again, you can use the toll free number 1-866-338-1015). Here is her Senate site.

Tom Harkin (IA): (202) 224-3254
Barbara A. Mikulski (MD): (202) 224-4654
Jeff Bingaman (NM): (202) 224-5521
Patty Murray (WA: (202) 224-2621
Jack Reed (RI): (202) 224-4642
Bernard Sanders (I) (VT): (202) 224-5141
Sherrod Brown (OH): (202) 224-2315
Robert P. Casey, Jr. (PA): (202) 224-6324
Kay Hagan (NC): (202) 224-6342
Jeff Merkley (OR): (202) 224-3753

North Carolina: Call Kay Hagan (again and again). Not only is she possibly your senator, she is on the Senate HELP Committee. See info above in RED. Also call one or all of her state offices. See sidebar for telephone numbers. If you called or wrote once, do it again.

For the following states:
New Mexico
Rhode Island

Call your senators. Each state has a senator on the Senate HELP Committee which is drafting legislation RIGHT NOW.


We want a public option.
No co-ops.
No triggers.
Medicare-like and comprehensive.

Here is the list. Call toll free using 1-866-338-1015:

Tom Harkin (IA): (202) 224-3254
Barbara A. Mikulski (MD): (202) 224-4654
Jeff Bingaman (NM): (202) 224-5521
Patty Murray (WA: (202) 224-2621
Jack Reed (RI): (202) 224-4642
Bernard Sanders (I) (VT): (202) 224-5141
Sherrod Brown (OH): (202) 224-2315
Robert P. Casey, Jr. (PA): (202) 224-6324
Kay Hagan (NC): (202) 224-6342
Jeff Merkley (OR): (202) 224-3753

THEN also call Kay Hagan, in red above whether your senator or not.

For everyone not specifically listed: Contact your Senator's state office locally and in DC . You can find the numbers here. Use the toll free number for DC: 1-866-338-1015.

The message:

We want a public option.
No co-ops.
No triggers.
Medicare-like and comprehensive.

It is important to make as many calls as you can and send e-mails.

Please, get this out. You are welcome to copy this post, take from it whatever you like. But PLEASE get this out there!

This is a hard, hard fight and senators are balking in helping us while they suck up HUGE amounts of insurance industry money. Fight, and fight hard!