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How the healthcare debate has changed US politics

Mark Mardell | 04:36 UK time, Thursday, 18 March 2010

Protesters in Washington. Photo: 16 March 2010
"Kill that bill" chant the crowd outside the Capitol, carrying banners proclaiming the president a liar and his plans socialism.

"That bill" gave them life. The conservative Tea Party movement was formed to fight big government and tax rises but it shot to prominence last summer loudly opposing the president's healthcare plans.

As the fight has dragged on and on (and on) their movement has grown. It has become a focus for opposition to the president. The people with the placards outside America's seat of legislation seem to have far more power and vigour than the men in suits from the Republican National Congress who stand at the edge of the crowd and try to hand their glossy printed posters to protesters who are quite happy with their home-made, hand-scrawled ones.

It is a rallying point for those like Jim Heath who oppose the president and all his works. He tells me: "It's totally outrageous what he wants to do, he wants to transform the country into a socialist nation."

I remark on his banner showing Obama climbing into a coffin marked "healthcare" and ask what this whole business has done for the president's authority.

"I couldn't care less what it does to his authority, authority belongs to us, to the people, we elected him." He raises his voice to a yell: "11/6/12 the day I am waiting for [the date of the next presidential election]... he will be gone in 2012".

A man with a guitar plays God Bless America, and others join in before chanting "USA, USA!" A recurrent theme at these events is that somehow these people's country has been captured from them.

Linsy Heiner has her baby boy Beau strapped to her front, holding a poster, and she says: "I believe that Obama's approach to reform in healthcare will actually harm patients' ability to make choices for themselves. We don't need to have a strong government intervention in our healthcare, that's not American."

As importantly, she goes on: "I read Obama's book, I read how he felt that this needed to be an open discussion, we need to have a lot of discussion in order to make those hard decisions.

"And yet we are not doing that. It's been closed doors and I think the reason they didn't open the doors is because if they saw the process people would be disgusted with what is going on. So it is breeding distrust and the process has been frankly just as bad as the bill."

The theme that Obama is not governing as he said he would is common. I ask several people if they are not simply sore losers, people who never liked the president, never liked his plans, and never will. Most say something on the lines that he hasn't lived up to his own promises.

One protester, Cindy Seamans, surprises me saying that she did vote for Obama but doesn't like the health care proposals. "I think we can't afford it, we can't afford the interest we are paying on out debt now and healthcare hasn't even started."

I put it to her that Obama was quite clear he wanted a healthcare reform, and many of the proposals at the time of the election were considerably more left-wing that the one now on the table.

"But he did promise transparency, to reduce the amount of lobbying in DC and trying to open up what the federal government does to the American people, and I don't think he's come through on any of those promises, and I don't think he's made any of them a priority either," she says.

The vote has yet to take place but it seems clear to me the way this has been done and the utter lack of discipline within the Democratic Party has hugely damaged them, and probably the president.

It took months of arguments between proponents of rival plans to get anywhere near a vote. Then it took backroom deals and a huge dollop of pork-barrel politics (special favours for individual states to win the votes of their senators) to get what looked like victory in the Senate on Christmas Eve.

By then many liberals felt the plan was so watered down as to be nearly worthless, even though all the concessions hadn't earned a single Republican vote. Doubts about the plan itself and even more disgust at the deals helped Republican Scott Brown win a vital Senate seat, and scupper the bill.

So after months more wrangling we are now back in the House, where Democratic leaders are still trying to win the votes of their colleagues, many of whom are frightened that associating themselves with what they see as a toxic measure will poison their chances for election in November.

Some still hope victory will bring its own rewards. In a phone bank in Silver Spring, Organising for America, which sprang out of Obama's election campaign, is trying for one last push.

They're using their superb data base to call people urging them to ring their Democratic congressmen and tell them to back the bill. Allisa Webber seems sad the mood at the time of the presidential election has so dissipated.

"I still feel that hope and optimism, and I wish that other people can find it somewhere instead of being so pessimistic. He's our president and I know that he's working as hard as he can, and so are the rest of us. You know things are hard right now and we are doing the best we can."

Another volunteer, Dr Michael Griffiths is disappointed with his party: "It's not the president's fault at all, it's the Democratic Party.

"We have a dysfunctional party and the Democrats have not been able to come together and just do it. I feel disappointed with the party, I feel the president is trying to deliver on what the party should be trying to deliver on and that's sad. I dont know what the party's there for if it doesn't stand for anything. It's very disappointing to me as a Democrat, lifelong Democrat."

Healthcare has dominated Obama's domestic agenda at the expense of allowing him to be heard on the economy. Win or lose this weekend, it will continue to haunt him and define the fault lines in American politics.

Comments

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  • 1. At 05:55am on 18 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Health care insurance is no longer a priority issue for most Americans.

    Issues such as a state of the country's economy, unemployment rate and growing federal deficit and national debt -are.

    Could it be that Mr. Obama is out of touch?
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    'FINE. WHERE'S THE MONEY COMING FROM?'

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  • 2. At 06:28am on 18 Mar 2010, Margareth Swan wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 3. At 06:43am on 18 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "President Obama has stepped up his efforts to gain support for his embattled healthcare reform bill by giving an interview to US Fox News."



    I guess that's the medium our president has to use if he wants to reach a really wide American audience.

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  • 4. At 06:58am on 18 Mar 2010, maryw wrote:

    A young, idealistic Democrat President tries to pass gargantuan health care reform, faces overwhelming opposition, gives up and goes on to win a second term with pragmatic policies. Obama clearly didn't learnt the lesson from Bill Clinton's big mistake, but its not to late to learn from his predecessor's successes.

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  • 5. At 06:59am on 18 Mar 2010, Nzie wrote:

    Well considering how much he's tried to shaft FoxNews, it's only fair. I am amazed at the comment in the article that it's not Obama, it's the Democrats-- the president is the head of his party, basically. If his party is responsible, it's under his leadership, so he's responsible. And if it really is just Congress, then what does that say about his executive leadership skills?

    He has broken faith with us, by not being transparent. He has not simply not yet kept promises; he has actively broken them, and used his administration as henchmen to paint everyone else as a bad guy while no one calls him on anything (he actually claimed 3000% savings for employers on health insurance; I'm terrible at math and I know better than that-- YouTube BlackandRight's channel for the clips from the Media Research Center).

    I'd like to talk to the President's tailor because he's managed to sew a teflon suit; nothing seems to stick. Open processes? No, secret meetings and deals. Honesty in government? Then why keep lying about the discrepancies on the Hyde amendment? A spirit of bipartisanship? Killed by backroom meetings and a failure to consider any Republican proposals, but don't worry we can have a summit where the President denies the truth of his actions to McCain's question.

    For somebody who claimed to be bringing something new, this sure seems like a familiar tune, just worse-- now we have a slick glaze over the corruption, beautiful gold plating on our iron bars.

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  • 6. At 07:00am on 18 Mar 2010, Omar wrote:

    It is about time America changes their phsyological way of thinking and stand with Obama. Americans are afraid that Obama is turning the country into a socialisit country. But in fact he is heling those who can't afford healthcare. I really like Mr Obama's plans as he is carrying for all classes, unlike the previous president.

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  • 7. At 07:02am on 18 Mar 2010, d_m wrote:

    #1) "Health care insurance is no longer a priority issue for most Americans."

    Most? That's not what I read. Where do you get your information?

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  • 8. At 07:08am on 18 Mar 2010, Spinoneone wrote:

    What Mark is seeing is a significant number of Americans who are disgusted with both major political parties. If one harks back to 2005/2006 many of the same comments about the inability of the Republicans to be effective then are the same ones we are hearing today about the Democrats. There really is something to the old aphorism that "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Most the the "tea partiers" want to avoid the last half of that statement and reduce the corruption on the first half.

    Second, there really are no "Republican" ideas incorporated in the Administration bill. It was crafted in both the House and Senate behind closed doors by the Democratic Caucus in both houses. Little or no Republican input was allowed/tolerated. So much for the idea of "greater transparency" in this or any other bill proposed by the Administration. So this really is a Democratic as opposed to "bi-partisan" bill.

    It is also the first instance of such united opposition by one party to another's proposal on a major issue in quite some time. The last couple of times "reconciliation" was used there was substantial bi-partisan support for the bills in question.

    Finally, as Mark discovered for himself, the "tea partiers" come from a wide swath of the American citizenry. They are mostly center-right and/or independents. Those who cast aspersions on them because of a perceived racial/ethnic imbalance should consider that: 95% of African-Americans voted for Obama; over half of all Hispanic-Americans voted for Obama; 75% of the Jews in America voted for Obama; but, only about 35% of the Asian-American community voted for Obama; and the "white" vote split about 53-48 against Obama. These facts of life are reflected, as one would reasonably expect, in the composition of the Tea Party Movement.

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  • 9. At 07:36am on 18 Mar 2010, dAnq YoAnq wrote:

    this health care bill is not for Obama but belongs to all generations of Americans who are disadvantaged to enjoy full health services. It is just unwise for some parents to come in the open and oppose it without deliberations. If it is all about high cost for govt, what else can u do with tax money more than creating an accessible basic need like H. C for all.

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  • 10. At 07:45am on 18 Mar 2010, Chinook wrote:

    So, the U.S. is heavily polarized. We see this point in the article and it's confirmed by the commentary.

    I don't know if now is the time to be wasting so much time and energy on these debates. Now may not be the time to do this and part of me wants Obama to fold to Republican and Republican supporters' filibuster tactics (inside and out of the Capitol Building). They'll have to find something else to criticize him about. What I don't understand is how a healthcare system like that of Australia's Medicare or the U.K.'s NHS is seen as a fundamentally bad thing in so many circles in the U.S. Sure, it's not always the most efficient way to look after people, but it stops those who can't afford health insurance from hitting rock bottom.

    It's not philanthropy, it's duty. Just like the U.S. supports USAID and other development initiatives overseas, we're giving up a portion of our prosperity to help those in need. If unemployment rates are skyrocketing at home, isn't it wise to think about a healthcare system that takes care of those without income?

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  • 11. At 08:20am on 18 Mar 2010, JesseV wrote:

    I hope people in the UK and everywhere else know that these "tea party" protesters are a laughing stock to many Americans. The majority of them claim Obama is raising their taxes (despite a cut in taxes for 95% of the country). Many also have signs that make wild comparisons of Obama to Hitler and Stalin. Both of which don't Reflect Obama in any way whatsoever, not to mention the fact that Hitler and Stalin have conflicting Ideologies. What most people do not understand is that health care the way it exists now is what is becoming increasingly more expensive for individuals and for the government, deepening the national debt. This bill is designed not just to cover people who are uninsured, but it is also designed to spend money on health care more efficiently. The costs are skyrocketing as they are now. Reform would ideally make the health care system more efficient and in the long term save money. Still, many people are so ignorant that they believe that it's simply a matter of just spending more money. As for Obama, I feel like the only reason that He hasn't gotten more done is because Republicans now oppose him on anything that he proposes just for the sake of not wanting to affiliate with him. I say that we need a whole congress full of Obamas. Logical, informed and charismatic politicians are a GOOD thing.

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  • 12. At 08:33am on 18 Mar 2010, Katherine Roller wrote:

    Years ago the NAACP had a excellent line: "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."
    From what I can obverse as an American living in Italy, is that many people seem to have forgotten this truism in the health care debate. The US is losing its leadership role in the world of innovation. And it will continue to do so if it doesn't protect and nourish its population, especially its children.
    Americans have long understood and appreciated the importance of universal education. Yet, it's impossible for a child to learn if he or she is sick. And hard working families often can't take a whole day from work to stand in a long line at a free clinic. The child goes untreated and can end-up very ill in the local emergency room, at public expense, for something that would have been easy to treat if seen by a doctor earlier. A group of doctors in Pasadena, California, having been trying to help for years. They formed an organization, Young & Healthy, but the solution to the problem is not local. It starts with a change of mindset - people are important. And a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

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  • 13. At 08:35am on 18 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #11

    no the Tea Party is only a laughing stock toObamaphiles and the liberal media.
    Their issues are less goverment, lower entitlements ect.

    I will put their intellect and common sense against move on org loons, code pink haters and student activists any time

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  • 14. At 08:38am on 18 Mar 2010, Schwerpunkt wrote:

    dAnq YoAnq wrote:

    "If it is all about high cost for govt, what else can u do with tax money more than creating an accessible basic need like H. C for all."

    It is not the business of government to provide healthcare in this way. No more than it is the responsibility of government to put food on everyones' tables and roofs over their heads.

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  • 15. At 08:55am on 18 Mar 2010, people_are_equal wrote:

    @powermeerkat (comment 1) I am really frustrated with people who don't understand how this issue is so key for the US economy and therefore for the whole world. Warrend Buffet said "Healthcare in America is like an economic tapeworm". Current projections demonstrate from 17.3% of GDP healthcare spending will rise to 25 and 37% in 2025 and 2050 respectively. Premiums have risen 120% in the last 8 years; 13% of Americans are uninsured. The US spent about double Denmark's GDP per capita on healthcare in 2007 yet have similar life expectancy at birth. IT'S RIDICULOUS STOP MOANING ABOUT FREEDOM AND TRY HELPING THE POOR (AND YOURSELVES!) - NO-ONE IS TAKING YOUR FREEDOM YOU FOOLS

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  • 16. At 08:57am on 18 Mar 2010, d_m wrote:

    The constitution says the government is supposed to promote the general welfare. I believe that could mean health insurance. The constitution doesn't define general welfare. That means the phrase is open to interpretation.

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  • 17. At 09:11am on 18 Mar 2010, d_m wrote:

    #14) ...not the business of government to provide healthcare...
    The business of government is to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity....
    The constitution doesn't say the government can't provide helathcare. It simply says it should promote the general welfare, which could be health insurance.

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  • 18. At 09:19am on 18 Mar 2010, PartTimeDon wrote:

    Option 1. Obama is trying anything he can to sway votes and he's getting desperate.
    Option 2. He has the votes and he's trying to label the GOP and the Tea party to failure.
    Okay, option 2 is a bit pie in the sky...

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  • 19. At 09:21am on 18 Mar 2010, Mike wrote:

    I get so angry when I hear people asking "How are we going to pay for this?" The cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq has eclipsed the costs of health care reform.

    It's sad that people are more than happy to let the government spend money when it's paying to kill people, but start raising vehement protest when money is needed to improve the health of millions of people.

    Since presidents from both parties have tried and failed to reform health care, neither party wants the other to succeed since that would bolster the opposition's image.

    Lot's of Americans are opposing the bill because they don't want the federal government to support abortions. For a lot of people it seems that the pro-life/pro-choice debate is the most important issue in the world, more important than our failing education system, more important than our failure to provide health care to American citizens, more important than our foreign policy.

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  • 20. At 09:42am on 18 Mar 2010, the-real-truth wrote:

    I suspect many americans really hate him to him being weak and a poor negotiator. Endless consessions and nothing to show for them. If you are going to ride roughshod over the people, at least have something to show for their humiliation.

    I wouldn't mind Gordon Browns £3 trillion spending spree of our (and our childrens, yet to be earned) money quite so much if there was *something* to show for it and it hadn't just been squandered.

    The other worry is what impact this will have on the race issue. Obama campaigned as not being black, as soon as he was elected his race was top of the list of big issues. Now, if he is a failure, what depth and breadth of prejudice will it create and reinforce for future coloured candidates?

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  • 21. At 09:42am on 18 Mar 2010, mitty_w wrote:

    Why is Socialism such a bad word? There are many forms of socialism; Russia and China choose to implement Communism. France chose to implement democratic socialism. Bolivia, Argentina all have their own forms of benevolent socialism.

    Is Capitalism or 'free-market' enterprise so saintly? Cut-throat capitalism, mercantilism (imperialistic) capitalism, corporate capitalism etc. caused more evil than 'Socialism' ever could. Capitalism is why British colonised America.

    AND FOR THE LAST TIME, OBAMACARE IS NOT SOCIALISTIC.

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  • 22. At 10:01am on 18 Mar 2010, dwightschmuck wrote:

    Yes, we sure can pay for military incursions worldwide but cannot find the money for vaccinations. We can afford to drop bombs and do 'drone strikes' but cannot afford even a modicum of 'socialized' health care for our OWN citizenry. We can afford to train hundreds of thousands of soldiers but cannot afford to train doctors & nurses. How does all that work, exactly? Methinks some of the folks 'in charge' should pay just a bit more attention to the Sunday sermon they are so wont to spout about. Especially the part about 'doing unto others'. Peace.

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  • 23. At 10:22am on 18 Mar 2010, Hans Kloss wrote:

    I think it is time US presidents understand that there are certain things that are not possible - one of them is to convince US citizens that some sort of unified (does not mean state owned) health system is needed. OC there is a need for such system. If thought trough it can save the nation a lots of money and provide its people a valuable service. This does not convince majority because they stop thinking at the point somebody is able to throw 'socialism' at any proposal. It is evil from then on.
    Of course it does not help that any proposal is so changed and mutilated in congress that whatever president proposes is not recognizable anymore when he is to sign it - lobbyists ensure that pork is being divided among the 'needy' corporations. From this respect people are right to reject whatever US government proposes also when they are wrong on the reasons.

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  • 24. At 10:39am on 18 Mar 2010, Bob Long wrote:

    So where are all the protests about the hundreds of billions of their dollars spent each year on killing people? Oh, that's right. It's only wasted if you're saving people's lives. Socialism bad, imperialism good.
    What a country. What a terrible, terrible country.

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  • 25. At 10:40am on 18 Mar 2010, mighty33mouse wrote:

    the ROMAN EMPIRE fell in 420A.D.-----------the AMERICAN REPUBLIC march 2010 . If this passes the new DARK AGES soon to follow. GOD HAVE MERY ON US.

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  • 26. At 10:42am on 18 Mar 2010, Oldloadr wrote:

    19. At 09:21am on 18 Mar 2010, Mike wrote: "For a lot of people it seems that the pro-life/pro-choice debate is the most important issue in the world, more important than our failing education system, more important than our failure to provide health care to American citizens, more important than our foreign policy."

    Absolutely! You see someone who is pro-life really believes abortion is a euphemism for murdering innocent children. How can that be compromised? How can anything eclipse the slaughter of innocents in importance? Of course the cold-hearted side of me would point out that it is mostly liberal babies that are dying which could explain why the conservative movement keeps having resurgence in spite of the best efforts of liberal educators. Ref: http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110005277

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  • 27. At 10:50am on 18 Mar 2010, Sam wrote:

    To my knowledge, the following are some of the highlights of Obama's proposed healthcare system:

    # prohibiting health insurers from refusing coverage based on patients' medical histories
    # prohibiting health insurers from charging different rates based on patients' medical histories or gender
    # repeal of insurance companies' exemption from anti-trust laws
    # establishing minimum standards for qualified health benefit plans
    # requiring most employers to provide coverage for their workers or pay a surtax on the worker's wages up to 8%
    # restrictions on abortion coverage in any insurance plans for which federal funds are used
    # an expansion of Medicaid to include more low-income Americans by increasing Medicaid eligibility limits to 150% of the Federal Poverty Level and by covering adults without dependents as long as either or any segment doesn't fall under the narrow exceptions outlined by various clauses throughout the proposal.
    # a subsidy to low- and middle-income Americans to help buy insurance
    # a central health insurance exchange where the public can compare policies and rates
    # a government-run insurance plan (public option); according to some analyses, the plan would be prohibited from covering abortions
    # requiring most Americans to carry or obtain qualifying health insurance coverage or possibly face a surtax for non-compliance.
    # a 5.4% surtax on individuals whose adjusted gross income exceeds $500,000 ($1 million for married couples filing joint returns)
    # a 2.5% excise tax on medical devices
    # reductions in projected spending on Medicare of $400 billion over a ten-year period
    # inclusion of language originally proposed in the Tax Equity for Domestic Partner and Health Plan Beneficiaries Act
    # inclusion of language originally proposed in the Indian Health Care Improvement Act Amendments of 2009.
    # imposing a $2,500 limit on contributions to flexible spending accounts (FSAs), which allow for payment of health costs with pre-tax funds, to pay for a portion of health care reform costs.

    Personally I don't believe that majority of the protesters are not even aware about these points. Compared to Canada, UK and EU countries, the current US health care system is a joke! It will continue to be one until and unless average Americans get past their xenophobia and actually see how this will benefit them.

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  • 28. At 11:01am on 18 Mar 2010, Philip2 wrote:

    Two things folks don't take into account enough:

    1.) Things are DIFFERENT now. More than ever before, so you have to throw a lot out the window because it may no longer apply. Respect for the President is one of those things--but not only in the public. Consider this seriously, please: respect for the presidency has now even disappeared in Congress. There is even the possibility that the nature of THIS president, coupled with what started with the last president, has resulted in disrespect even within the president's own party (behind closed doors). The media and the pervasiveness of the internet (and thus of exposure, misinformation and other hitherto uncalculated effects) further impact just how the times have changed.

    2.) When one party is determined to screw up the works, to manipulate information and the process, to scare and confuse the people, to destroy the country's leader just to regain their own power, how can anyone calculate just how much that has lead to the leader's inability to lead? How can you lead people who refuse to be led--we have three, independent branches of government.

    The President cannot "strong arm" anyone. Not today. Why? Because like stupid Harry Reid doing those stupid deals (a younger person, more saavy to this information age, never would have done so!), THE PEOPLE WOULD FIND OUT and villify him. As I said: Things have changed. We have no idea how many bribes and threats were used in the past. But TODAY, every one of them, eventually, gets discovered. As a result, the ABILITY TO LEAD has also changed--and I suspect that it will be a while before this government (both sides of it) figure out how to deal with these changes effectively.

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  • 29. At 11:05am on 18 Mar 2010, akaExpensesFiddler wrote:

    “...and ask what this whole business has done for the president's authority.”

    Time and time again these Americans Mr. Mardells interviews never seem to answer his question, either because they don't understand the question or they lack the intellect to answer him.

    Indeed one would blame President Obama for his lack of leadership (Sometimes one feel that liberals are best in opposition rather than in government, but one hears he is beginning to assert his authority).

    One used to be amazed at the level of ignorance, fabrications and lies of these people but not any more.

    The American people have voted, and the sore losers should respect the voting rights of the majority. What these tea baggers and other obstructionist are doing amounts to undermining the rights of the majority of the Americans to elect their best candidate. Indeed, their “I couldn't care less” attitude clearly undermines democracy.

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  • 30. At 11:07am on 18 Mar 2010, thinkandthink wrote:

    Healthcare should be everyone's concern. I have read comments about jobs being more important. If you don't have private insurance and loose your job, what is supposed to happen if you get sick. You go a hospital. Who pays when you can't, taxpayers. So what is the difference. Besides individuals do not make their own choices; unless they are very well off. My insurance company tells me what doctor I can see and then tells me what medicines I can take. As the baby boomers get older, they are going to be on Medicare-guess what, that is also paid for the governement. Why should younger people not have guaranteed health insurance? Socialized medicine works well in some countries, and not so wll in others. If you have never experienced it, you are just bombared with worst case senarios by the right. I'd like a lieelt security; and that is just what this bill is-a little security.

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  • 31. At 11:15am on 18 Mar 2010, Kpolongombo wrote:

    neocons keep asking where is the money from? the money is coming from the same place where the largest military budget in the world comes from annually. its sickening to know that people who gladly prefer to send billions of dollars annually on weapons are so opposed to spending a minute portion of that on medicare. US military budget in two years is more than the whole healthcare cost for ten years. this may help answer your concerns:

    http://www.armscontrolcenter.org/policy/securityspending/articles/fy09_dod_request_global/

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  • 32. At 11:23am on 18 Mar 2010, Mike wrote:

    26. At 10:42am on 18 Mar 2010, Oldloadr wrote:
    19. At 09:21am on 18 Mar 2010, Mike wrote: "For a lot of people it seems that the pro-life/pro-choice debate is the most important issue in the world, more important than our failing education system, more important than our failure to provide health care to American citizens, more important than our foreign policy."

    Absolutely! You see someone who is pro-life really believes abortion is a euphemism for murdering innocent children. How can that be compromised? How can anything eclipse the slaughter of innocents in importance? Of course the cold-hearted side of me would point out that it is mostly liberal babies that are dying which could explain why the conservative movement keeps having resurgence in spite of the best efforts of liberal educators. Ref: http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110005277


    Thanks! That was an interesting article.

    The thing about abortion is that the pro-choice people respect the pro-life people's rights to believe that abortion is wrong. However, the pro-life people to not respect the opinion of the pro-choice people because they believe, despite the dozens of governments and billions of people world-wide that believe otherwise, that abortion amounts to what you said: slaughtering innocents. For most people this because of their religion, and it really amounts to them shoving their religious values down the throats of people who believe something different. What's funny is that even though it's a religiously motivated stance, they still try to insist it's scientific fact that every abortion is the slaughter of a baby. So why don't you make sure every sperm out their in the world finds an egg?

    All this seems to be beside the point as per Obama's health care plan as Catholics organizations in America have recently said they're satisfied that public money won't be used to fund abortions.

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  • 33. At 11:24am on 18 Mar 2010, Mark M Newdick wrote:

    From the point of view of US health insurance companies, the so-called "Tea Party" protesters are nothing more than useful fools - their health insurance premiums will still go up 20% to 30% this year, as they did last year (and the year before ... and the year before that).

    And why are they going up, and at such a prodigious rate? Because we're all paying for the increasing number of people who do not have heath insurance - a form of "Free Market Socialism" that would be ironically amusing if it wasn't so darn expensive!

    As for the promotion of small business as being the life blood of American industry, they're the very enterprises who cannot afford to provide health insurance for their people. Which means those in (shrinking) large corporations are subsidizing small businesses!

    The Republicans response (under Bush) was to limit malpractice awards, subsidize the drug companies, and remove the competitive drug acquisition process from government run Medicare/ Medicaid programs - all of which stink of "socialism" no matter how you cut it!

    Personally, I believe Tort Reform is the answer to much of the problem. It must be remembered that while large court awards are actually quite rare, the vast majority of settlements are made as "go away" payments - it's cheaper for insurance companies to pay $10,000 (or whatever) than incur huge legal costs with an uncertain outcome.

    So limiting court awards has little of no impact on health insurance costs. The real solution is to allow anyone to sue anyone for anything at any time and for any amount of money - but if you lose, you pay the defense costs. This will knock out 99% of unwarranted claims, cease the practice of automatically paying "go away" money, and stop the legal system being an obscene and expensive (to you and I) lottery.

    And why is this not being done? Because Congress is full of trial lawyers who made their money playing this malpractice lottery game!

    But the benefits of this kind of Tort Reform are legion: Forces lawyers to actually work for their money; cuts down the number of procedures done by doctors just to avoid potential law suits; lowers doctors' malpractice insurance costs; highlights and forces real heath care malpractice issues to actually go to trial (and set precedent); substantially reduces or even eliminates "go away" payments, which are 90% of all corporate legal costs. The overall effect will be to reduce the premiums you and I (and our employers) pay each month.

    But even if Congress did introduce Tort Reform as outlined above, there is still the issues of the Administrative costs of the current system. The forms alone cost a fortune, but then add into that the maintenance of filing information - the legion of administrative staff, the computers, the veritable forest of trees required everyday, the cost of paying off the middle men in commissions and fees, and the profit margins required by the insurance companies themselves. All this equates to about 30% of ones insurance premiums!

    Introducing some form of universal health care system, where any tax paying American can expect health care on demand at no (additional) cost, has simply got to be the ultimate goal. That is, no forms, no co-pay, no bill and no testing for ability to pay. And no health care bankruptcies!

    How do we get there? Well the debate must continue, but Tort Reform would be a heck of a good start. Then attack the principle of whether the healthcare industry as a whole should be not-for-profit. Then look at Federal rules, implemented at the state level, for how health care providers should conduct their (not-for-profit) businesses - no pre-existing condition clauses; no declination of coverages for necessary medical needs; devise a fair and equitable method, not based on ability to pay, for elective procedures; and a national program of preventative rather than reactive health care.

    Do I hear "rationing"? Well, this really applies to elective procedures and is rampant in the US today - that is, of you have no insurance coverage, you don't get treated. (Non-elective needs are treated either by government programs or subsidy from premium paying citizens.)

    The devil is in the details, but popular agreement on the above should be easy to attain in principle. Let's start there - as a nation, we can work the rest out.

    Or we can go broke with our internecine bickering.

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  • 34. At 11:26am on 18 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    1. Mr. Obama's problems is not Republicans.

    Mr. Obama's problem is not Independents.

    Mr. Obama's problem's is not Libertarians.

    Mr. Obama's problem is his own Democrats.

    As MM himself noticed: Democrats had and still have enough votes to pass basically anything they want. BY THEMSELVES!

    So neither Mr. Obama, nor Congressional Democrats have any excuse.

    What was required was president's leadership, a sound clear bill debated openly in front of C-SPAN cameras and, last but not least,
    unity and commitment of his own party's representatives.

    Neither was supplied. So again, no; BHO and his party have no excuse.





    2.Re: "For a lot of people it seems that the pro-life/pro-choice debate is the most important issue in the world, more important than our failing education system, more important than our failure to provide health care to American citizens, more important than our foreign policy."



    No it isn't, and foreign policy was hardly ever a priority for Americans.
    [ it usually really mattered to them only during war times, alas.]

    "IT'S ECONOMY, STUPID!", [a useful slogan GS coined for Bill Clinton.]

    And according to recent polls the most important issues for Americans right now are:

    1. state of U.S. economy

    2. unemployment

    3. health insurance reform

    4. U.S. federal deficit.


    Now, these results are several weeks old and we hear that Americans' concern about a fast growing federal deficit and a real cost of health care reform (as planned) is growing.


    But is doesn't matter. There'll be new polls soon.

    So if anybody thinks Americans' priorites are different they'll most likely have the new poll results by Easter at the latest.



    P.S. Of course what'll really matter will be results of polls conducted
    in mid October.

    And although their results cannot (obviously) be known now, a lot of Democrats in US Congress already fear them, judging by their actions.

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  • 35. At 11:32am on 18 Mar 2010, harryskillman wrote:

    #25. We do have 'mery' on you, all time mate. We have a good laugh at the narrow-minded opinions of such a large percentage of Americans who believe that doing something to benefit the majority of the people in their country is akin to hardline, Stalinesque Communism.

    It's also pretty amusing to consider the ridiculous contradicting views of many of these people who would, most likely, claim themselves to be a practicing Christian. It seems that when it comes down to it they do not practice what they preach.

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  • 36. At 11:36am on 18 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    What is Barack Obama thinking? FOX News is the preferred medium for American conservatives, does he actually think he is going to influence the opinion and change the minds of the opposition by exposing his views? The folks he has to convince are his own base...which does not watch oe listen to FOX News. His decision highlights how desperate the administration is and the predicament they are in.

    Healthcare reform is desperately needed and, if implemented, it would not only make life much easier for the average American, it would reduce the overhead costs of our corporations, would make them more competitive and profitable, and would lead to reduced unemployment. Unfortunately, President Obama and the Democratic leadership have failed to articulate the benefits of healthcare reform in a way that the average person can understand and, worse, they let the opposition take the lead and have lost control of this issue. The only segment of our economy that would be adversely affected is the insurance industry...which does not add anything vital or constructive to medical care.

    At this point, the best thing they could do is throw in the towel and focus on the economy, jobs, infrastructure improvements, education, energy, financial regulation, trade and let someone else tackle this issue again when insurance premiums and other healthcare-related costs become so out of control that companies can no longer afford to provide healthcare to their employees, individuals can not afford the premiums and can not cope with the deductibles and exclusions, and medical personnel have no choice but to change professions.

    I guess he always have the option of going to "socialist" countries to get the care we can not afford in our own country...

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  • 37. At 11:42am on 18 Mar 2010, Sam wrote:

    I don't really see there being a dichotomy. My wife and I might be losing our jobs in the not too distant future and one of the things we're most worried about is being able to pay for health insurance.

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  • 38. At 11:47am on 18 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #28
    Philip2 wrote:


    "We have no idea how many bribes and threats were used in the past. But TODAY, every one of them, eventually, gets discovered. As a result, the ABILITY TO LEAD has also changed".





    You're not implying that one can lead only if one bribes and threatens, are you? :)


    BTW. I haven't noticed that the ability of foreign and domestic leaders/politicans to bribe and twist arms has diminished any in the last 40 years or so.
    Internet or not Internet. Twitter or no Twitter. SMS or no SMS.

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  • 39. At 11:57am on 18 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    The author of post #29 should look up a term "teabaggers" and read who 'teabaggers' are and what their favorite acitivity is.

    Than he would find out 'teabaggers' are not Tea Party supporters, and that perhaps they even stand 'for something completely different'.

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  • 40. At 12:04pm on 18 Mar 2010, Jihm wrote:

    I don't think the "healthcare" debate has changed US politics. Instead, US politics - specifically the Republican Party - has seized on the modest (many would say far too modest) healtcare insurance reform proposals, and manufactured an entirely ficticious "government takeover" of healthcare with the spector of "socialism" (we should be so lucky) whch is equated with "fascism" and any other out of context word they can think of to scare the very ignorant. Actually there never was, and is not now, a debate in this country about "healthcare". The entire "debate" is about nothing more than insurance, and how it should be regulated. Healthcare itself is not even touched by the proposed legislation.

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  • 41. At 12:11pm on 18 Mar 2010, Scott Freeman wrote:

    "isn't it wise to think about a healthcare system that takes care of those without income?"

    Perhaps. That's not what Obama's plans are. The Obama bills do not contain one single measure to help poor people get healthcare. Quite the opposite. The regulatory requirements of the bill, taxes on health insurers, patients and those with health insurance, all make health insurance more expensive, not less. Fewer Americans will be able to afford health insurance than would otherwise be the case because of these plans, if they pass.

    The Obama plans do nothing to provide for the poor. If we want to say that it is unacceptable, to the point where taxation is justified, for some people to go without health insurance then the answer is for means-tested vouchers, funded through payroll taxes, that let them choose how they want to receive their healthcare. That picks up that 0.3% at the very bottom, who are neither entitled to nor can afford health insurance.

    But healthcare costs are still rising. They're rising fastest in the government programs like Medicare and Medicaid so the first thing to do is to scrap those. Second, is to recognize that America's healthcare market is broken. It is heavily regulated and distorted beyond recognition of anything approaching 'free'. The tax exemption enjoyed by employer health insurance needs to be spread to all forms of healthcare, such as individual health insurance. Most Americans are stuck with whatever their employer offers them, and nobody spends someone else's money as wisely as they spend their own. This would make HSAs, a much cheaper option than pure health insurance and a real answer to spiraling costs, a real option for most people.

    The government cap on HSA deposits needs to be scrapped to encourage young people to invest in HSAs. The ban on buying health insurance across state lines needs to be scrapped, to end local health insurance monopolies. Similarly, the bans on cumulative catastrophic health insurance and event-based insurance need to be ended, opening up other avenues for cost reduction. The FDA needs to stop trying to do policy and operation, and contract out the latter. This has already been piloted and resulted in a massive cut in the cost of licensing drugs that would help cut their cost for everyone. And medical licensure needs reform. Doctors choosing how many doctors are admitted to medical school each year are limiting their numbers to keep salaries, and thus the cost of healthcare, artificially high.

    Policies such as these can fix America's healthcare, Obama is just piling on more problems.

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  • 42. At 12:23pm on 18 Mar 2010, daisie108 wrote:

    The majority of people in this country do want health care reform. Unfortunately the tea party is more entertaining and makes for a better "story" on the news so it gets more coverage. These people claim to be Christians, yet support wars that we were lied into and think its fine that there are people who will die and or suffer because they cannot afford health insurance or because the health insurance comapnies choose not to cover them. Lets take all the billions of dollars that we are paying for wars that we shouldn't even be in and use them for healthcare for all and bring our troops home. I have lived in the UK and experienced the NHS firsthand (btw..I worked and paid into it and my husband is a UK citizen who did aswell) and it was terrific.. not perfect but so much better than what we have here. I hope this bill passes because once it does then we can add to it and make it better. Once the people experience it there is no way it will be repealed. to all those who are against it... I hope that you and no one that you care about is ever in a position where they cannot afford health insurance or cannot get it for whatever reason. You never know what the future holds so be careful what you wish for. and just one other thing I wanted to add because there are some people who think this bill will cover abortions (which it will not) War is not Pro life.

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  • 43. At 12:25pm on 18 Mar 2010, strontiumdog wrote:

    If the US wishes to tear itself apart over the issue of universal health care then ultimately that's their business.. what disturbs me are the comparisons between Hitler and the US president.and that he is trying to impose some sort of evil socialist state on the US by bringing in health care reform..
    Even Powermeerkat agrees that Australia is not a socialist hell hole and that the Aussies are hard working, independent capitalists. Yet if any Aussie politician tried to dismantle the NHS they would be committing political suicide...
    As a Jew I think its an insult to even mention Hitler and Obama in the same breath and belittles the evils Hitler brought upon this world

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  • 44. At 12:35pm on 18 Mar 2010, Dawn wrote:

    We have a big army and go to war over seas is to protect our ownership and other peoples ownership of homes and businesses here in the U.S.

    People around the world invest huge amounts of money in the our economy because they know it'll be safe. Who do you think is buying up all the bonds we are creating on the printing press to allow us to live this way? Who owns some of the huge businesses and buildings? That foreign money is helping 'we the people' out immensely.

    America is a very safe country for investment. Our military and our laws protecting peoples property rights make it so. Our views on property rights are not shared every where around the globe.

    You want me to give up my money so it costs you nothing and you want me to agree to give up our country's protection of property & investment rights for.... what? You to get something free? P'fffffft If you want to spend your money on booze or fancy cars, that's your problem not mine.

    Pass a few strong laws that cap insurance rates, no-denial to pre-existing conditions, don't let insurance company's drop people, pay medical students tuition...

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  • 45. At 12:38pm on 18 Mar 2010, Dan wrote:

    I don't consider it hyperbole to say that the vote on health care reform in the US will be an Armageddon moment for the Democrats. If the large majority that they hold in both the House and Senate cannot unify itself and pass such a vital reform to our mess of a health care system, then the Dems will almost certainly splinter apart into several even less effective factions.

    The Republicans -- the party of "NO!" versus the Democrats -- the party of "DOH!"

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  • 46. At 12:48pm on 18 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    8. At 07:08am on 18 Mar 2010, Spinoneone wrote:

    "consider that: 95% of African-Americans voted for Obama; over half of all Hispanic-Americans voted for Obama; 75% of the Jews in America voted for Obama; but, only about 35% of the Asian-American community voted for Obama; and the "white" vote split about 53-48 against Obama."

    In other words, Obama is not a 'legitimate' president as far as white anglo-saxon protestants are concerned? Is that supposed top be the point here?

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  • 47. At 12:49pm on 18 Mar 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    Althoug organized the group represent a small percentage of the American people and maybe the media should be more honest about the actual size of this group. Their confused philosophy is somewhat like that of the Taiban in that they have a set of beliefs that they wish to impose on the majority. The most anti-democratic group in existence on the political scene. The dupes of the insurance companies they cheer to create a system that is to their own disadvantage and this is about creating failure for the President and the nation. Ignorant people being told that their positions are intellectual. Most find them boring with their rants and racism. When the numbers are counted on election day the matter will be resolved.

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  • 48. At 12:51pm on 18 Mar 2010, Alexandereski wrote:

    It's almost ironic that the well worn political process of fearmongering translates so easily to healthcare reform in the US. And the Tea Party mob are unwittingly, or willingly, providing free advertising for not only the GOP, but the big pharms, and insurance corporations.
    In the meantime, more and more US citizens and dwellers are being forced out of viable healthcare through their inability to pay. when you consider the amount the US spends on arming itself, Israel, South Korea, Georgia, etc... surely there are voices in the US asking the question:
    "Do we have control of our own country anymore, or are the corporates, and powerful lobby groups really, and completely, in charge?"
    If the majority of people in the US really want healthcare, or any other kind of pro-active reform, then they should excise the root cause of the problems. Make lobbying, or political donations by any group, illegal, and an imprisonable offense.
    Once the gov belongs to the people again, then a discussion on healthcare reform will, by its "non-profit" nature, become more people orientated, as a default, and as a result, the tide may turn in favour of healthcare as a universal right, and not just a means of profit.
    There's is zero credibility in the arguments for and against, all the time the corporations, powerful lobby groups, and military-industrial profiteers run the country. (and they do, and have done for a long time.)
    Given there is such a strong religious/neo-con/capitalist core at the centre of the debate, any attempt to make a healthcare system more human is doomed to fail. Until this group is marginalized, and polticians act in a balanced and reasoned, non-profit making manner, then the hypocrisy of "freedom" as touted by this cabal wil continue. They have no reason to change the status quo, as they're making a profit, and have the power currently to force others to adhere to their lust for power and influence.
    It's inadequate to call the Tea Party and it's formidable backers, a people oriented movement.
    Something far closer to the truth could be "The neo-con mullahs of the Tea Party call all of you to jihad, against reducing our power and influence. Sponsored by big Pharma, the insurance industry, and trial lawyers. INC."

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  • 49. At 12:55pm on 18 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    27. Sam:

    Thanks for the summary.

    Now, would all those who post here saying they oppose this reform please explain specificallywhat, out of those changes they find so unacceptable?

    (There's little point in me saying this yet again, but they all seem to be perfect common sense to me, and (apart from the abortion amendment) are pretty well enshrined in every other developed country's health insurance systems and have been, mostly, for decades. In Germany, even, almost from the days of Bismarck more than a century ago.)

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  • 50. At 1:02pm on 18 Mar 2010, Bob Williams wrote:

    American voters are caught between two parties; one desperately clinging to the past, the other incapable of delivering pragmatic change. Sensible communication is being drowned out by ideology, much of it amplified by monied interest groups. It's a sorry spectacle.

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  • 51. At 1:04pm on 18 Mar 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    I agree with Jim Heath: "I couldn't care less what it does to his (Obama's) authority, authority belongs to us, to the people, we elected him."
    But the President has the power, Jim, and power IS the authority.
    I too read Obama's book. I read about open discussions and transparency; yet, this has turned into one of the most opaque Governments in the history of the United States.
    Yes, I believe people would be disgusted with the “Slaughter Rule” and the alleged need not to resubmit the Bill to the Senate, if and when it ever passes Congress.
    Why?
    Because Congress (long, long ago) sent its version to the Senate and the Senate (long, long ago) revised it and sent it back for reworking in Congress. Ipso facto: the Senate had an "approved" version. All we need now, according to Obama, is a straight “up/down” vote in Congress...with no resubmission to the Senate. We'll all just assume that the Congressional and Senate versions are mirror images.
    If this strikes you as unconstitutional that’s because (in my opinion) it is a contravention of Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution. But then, I’m not a Constitutional Lawyer. Obama is; in fact, he taught Constitutional Law at Chicago University.
    Obama made a lot of promises; listeners have grown tired. Remember the promise to reduce lobbyism. Do you believe there is no insurance lobbies at work on the Healthcare Bill?
    Congressional Democrats are still trying to win the votes of their colleagues, but it's not "poison" they fear as much as this:
    Would you want to affix your signature to a Bill that would break the Constitution of the United States?
    If this is the best we will see on Obamacare, I say “Thank God”, he’s not had a chance to be heard on the economy. The Feds are in enough trouble without Obama weighing in.

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  • 52. At 1:04pm on 18 Mar 2010, Adrean wrote:

    Nearly 45,000 people die in the United States each year - one every 12 minutes - in large part because they lack health insurance and can not get good care, Harvard Medical School researchers found in an analysis released in 2009.

    Pro live?

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  • 53. At 1:06pm on 18 Mar 2010, Justin wrote:

    Just wanting to contribute the usual mandatory pedantic comment to this discussion. If Mark was referring to the RNC when he wrote "Republican National Congress", I think he probably meant "Republican National Committee" or if he meant the NRCC, it's the "National Republican Congressional Committee".

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  • 54. At 1:13pm on 18 Mar 2010, BLAZAR wrote:

    Power not health is served with this bill . Tort reform and freemarket purchase of policies are absent . Choice is offered to the Progressive god of Distraction . If this change is so good mandate all federal and state govt. employees switch to it after it passes . Kick the progressives to the curb in Nov election cycle . God bless the USA . Not what Rev. Wright taught you in Chicago .

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  • 55. At 1:14pm on 18 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 35, Harryskillman

    "It seems that when it comes down to it they do not practice what they preach."

    No, they simply forgot to point out that the idol they venerate is the Almighty dollar. Problem is they seem intent on destroying what they worship.

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  • 56. At 1:17pm on 18 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    24. At 10:39am on 18 Mar 2010, Bob Long wrote:

    "So where are all the protests about the hundreds of billions of their dollars spent each year on killing people?"

    Good point, where are those code pinkers since the election? Hypocrisy much?

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  • 57. At 1:20pm on 18 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 27, Sam

    Thank you for the comprehensive summary of what is included in President Obama's healthcare reform plan. You are absolutely right, most Americans have no idea what is actually included in the plan and have made their decision based strictly on soundbites and an effective misinformation campaign.

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  • 58. At 1:26pm on 18 Mar 2010, ElEnfadado wrote:

    It is mind-boggling that the richest country in the world is unwilling to provide even basic health care for its citizens, preferring to pay vast profits to private health corporations - simply in the name of eschewing 'socialist' ideology - but is more than happy to waste billions bombing other nations back into the dark ages.

    And this self-same country seeks to enforce its version of democracy upon the rest of the world, using the barrel of a depleted-uranium gun?

    Socialist priciples (imperfect though they all have been) seem to have done a lot less harm than the fascist principles the Republicans seem to admire - if one bothers to look at the lessons of history - as 'socialism' is all about 'society' whereas 'capitalism' is mostly only concerned with 'capital'.

    Having plunged the entire world into a depression with its greedy and decitful interpretation of capitalism, the Republicans now seek to do the same to the healthcare of its own citizens?

    What an absurd, selfish and immoral nation the US has become.

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  • 59. At 2:00pm on 18 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    To everyone that says we spend more on defense than health care you are wrong:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fy2010_spending_by_category.jpg

    Defense = 18.9%

    Medicare = 12.79%
    Medicaid = 8.10%
    Health & Human Services = 2.22%

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  • 60. At 2:01pm on 18 Mar 2010, Andrew Z wrote:

    Frankly, when I see the nauseating levels of state dependency over here in the UK I can quite understand how certain Americans fear "big government". It could, I'm sure, be different over there. Alas, it isn't different here.

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  • 61. At 2:17pm on 18 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    I posted this before, but since it was on a dying thread, no-one paid any attention. However, this recent Gallup Poll suggests it's not only the US Congress that's out if touch with what people are thinking in the US, but many who bring up certain issues about the health insurance reform here.

    I don't usually do this, but it seems to me to shed a different light on the 'debate' to the impression we often get from comments in forums like this:

    What's really interesting is this poll asked why people were for or against health care reform.

    

For (%):



    People need insurance/ too many uninsured: 29
    
system broken: 18
    
Moral responsibility to provide it: 12

    Would make healthcare more affordable: 10
    
Don't trust insurance companies: 5



    What is much more interesting is the reasons people were opposed. And that is because some of the 'talking points' and 'issues' often raised by those opposed here, US media pundits, and some of those stressed by Republicans so often, aren't, apparently, that important:



    Why are you opposed? (%)



    Will raise costs: 20

    Doesn't address real problems: 19

    Need more information: 8

    Healthcare a privilege not entitlement: 6
    
Would increase deficit: 5
    
Socialism: 4
    
Oppose public option: 3

    Would hurt senior citizens/Medicare: 3
    
Rushed through: 3
    
Would pay for abortions: 2

    Against big government; government should not be involved: 1

    Hasn't worked in other countries:1
    1
Illegal immigrants would benefit: --

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  • 62. At 2:19pm on 18 Mar 2010, modernJan wrote:

    "#1) "Health care insurance is no longer a priority issue for most Americans."

    Until they get sick themselves, but by then it's already too late. You don't get to choose whether you fall ill or not, it's like a lottery, but everyone thinks it's not going to happen to them and that's just stupid.

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  • 63. At 2:24pm on 18 Mar 2010, baircash wrote:

    Last summer, the President allowed the opposition to get way out in front of the propoganda wars & stay there. Never mind that 98% of the claims were outlandish. Reminds me of the the Nazi propoganda Minister Goebbels: Tell a big lie & keep repeating it , people begin to believe it as the truth. I believe Lenin also stole the phrase.

    We still don't know what's really going to come out of that sauage machine (Congress). Hopefully, its a start
    Ski

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  • 64. At 2:27pm on 18 Mar 2010, modernJan wrote:

    Wait. Did I say it's a lottery? Make that Russian roulette times two: one in three people develop cancer during their lives, treatment often costs tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars (and it costs more in the US than in Europe because of the inefficient American healthcare system). At the same time insurance premiums are rising faster than wages and insurance companies are finding new ways to shaft their customers (deny them treatment they thought their insurance would cover) every day.

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  • 65. At 2:34pm on 18 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    44. At 12:35pm on 18 Mar 2010, Dawn wrote:

    "We have a big army and go to war over seas is to protect our ownership and other peoples ownership of homes and businesses here in the U.S."

    No you don't; you go to war to protect them outside the USA.

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  • 66. At 2:43pm on 18 Mar 2010, bepa wrote:

    #52 Andrean

    Its called eugenics.

    The people who can not afford health insurance are the weak and without access to health care they die.

    Yes 45,000 American citizens die every year because the wealthy and powerful are engaged in a cleansing of the weak from America.

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  • 67. At 2:44pm on 18 Mar 2010, drkdsn wrote:

    Socialism in the US? Are you kidding me?

    Why would a nation that -

    1) already runs Medicare/Medicaid (don't forget the VA) -

    2) already spends 650+ billion on defense -

    3) already spends hundreds of billions on farm and oil subsidies -

    4) already backstops a freewheeling casino of a financial system -

    have to worry about socialism? Come on.

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  • 68. At 2:46pm on 18 Mar 2010, baytrees wrote:

    Mark Mardell wrote:
    "By then many liberals felt the plan was so watered..."

    Liberals?

    Mark, you've gone native.

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  • 69. At 2:49pm on 18 Mar 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    The fact that President Obama got Dennis Kucinich to say he would vote yes for the health care bill is huge. Kucinich is one of those guys that wouldn't vote yes unless he truly thought it would help the American people. He is one of the better Democrats and politicians out there. Some of the Dems you wonder about, what kickbacks they are getting or what their true political motives are. Kucinich only wants good things for America. He does not have a hidden agenda. So that does make Obama look good and make Americans like myself feel better about this bill.

    I do still wish that this health care bill was for nationalized health care, but it's just not. Europe, Canada, ect. are all lucky to have nationalized health care. But am I moving anytime soon? Nope! I would definitely visit those beautiful lands, but not to live there.

    I love the USA and I know President Obama does, too. President Obama has got to remain strong, hearty and resilient. Don't give up, President Obama. There are millions of people rooting for you.

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  • 70. At 2:50pm on 18 Mar 2010, James wrote:

    Please understand all Americans want health care reform. However, Obama and his cronies are using the current proposed law as a power grab of the entire health system. Even he admits, when his bill passes, millions will still be without medical insurance. Now he has added 'control' of all college tuition loans to the health care bill, to incorporate the programs savings. That is why he has our 'doctor payment issue' extracted from the health care bill and added to another bill (cut the cost of the bill). Hospitals are not subject to the new taxes for 10 years and unions will not be taxed like the rest of us until 2018. We must pay 10 years of taxes for 6 years of health service. There is more, but the short of it is we don't like 'this' health care bill.

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  • 71. At 2:52pm on 18 Mar 2010, bepa wrote:

    The CBO has come out with a report on the effect of the health care bill on the economy. You can tell where the different news medias stand in their biases by how they report in their headlines about the CBO report.

    Health Bill Estimated to Cost $940 Billion, Setting Up Possible Sunday Vote
    FOXNews

    Healthcare overhaul to cut deficit: Hoyer
    Reuters

    Dem Health Care Bill Pegged at $940B Over 10 Years
    CBS News

    House leaders: Health-care plan will reduce deficit by more than $100 billion
    Washington Post

    Democrats on Track for Vote on $940 Billion Health Bill
    Wall Street Journal

    TPMDC
    Dem Source: CBO Says Health Bill Cuts Deficit, Costs $940 Billion

    CBO Score On Health Care Bill Released: Boosts Democrats' Hopes Of Passing Reform
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/18/cbo-score-on-health-care_n_502543.html

    "Comprehensive health care reform will cost the federal government $940 billion over a ten-year period, but will increase revenue and cut other costs by a greater amount, leading to a reduction of $130 billion in the federal deficit over the same period, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, a Democratic source tells HuffPost. It will cut the deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next ten years."

    ........................................................................

    I think the health care bill will pass this Sunday with the combined effects of the CBO report and Kucinich 's support

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  • 72. At 2:53pm on 18 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    36. At 11:36am on 18 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    "I guess he always have the option of going to "socialist" countries to get the care we can not afford in our own country..."

    I'm afraid not that easily. As a foreign citizen and non-resident, we will charge you. Or your insurance company. (Not as much as in the USA, probably, though.)

    Now here's a thought; all those countries with 'socialised' health care could charge 'health tourists' more (but still less, probably than US hospitals and doctors) and thereby make the taxes we pay for it cheaper for the rest of us. Might even pay for a few more new hospitals. Good idea!

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  • 73. At 2:54pm on 18 Mar 2010, Esoteric wrote:

    From the outside, it appears that the Tea Partyers represent the USA. This makes every American appear to be unusually unintelligent and extremely racist. Can those of you who don't agree with this stand that the Tea Partyers have, that somehow this is their country and anyone else who went there after their ancestors does not belong there, please stand up and disown such rhetoric?
    There seems to be a real fear among all these people that Mr. Obama will somehow "take away" their country. And, the deep manipulators are causing a lot of fear about just about everything by shouting his name.
    Please stop and think and understand that if your health insurance company stops your health coverage for whatever reason it chooses, you will be royally shafted. Mr. Obama is trying to take that control away from the insurance companies and put it in the hands of a government that will fight on your behalf.

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  • 74. At 2:58pm on 18 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 8, Spinoneone:

    "...only about 35% of the Asian-American community voted for Obama..."

    You got that one backwards: http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/results/president/exit-polls.html

    All the rest are correct, and I agree with your point that the TEA party movement is simply a rebranding of the opposition.

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  • 75. At 3:06pm on 18 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 25, mighty33mouse:

    "the ROMAN EMPIRE fell in 420A.D.-----------the AMERICAN REPUBLIC march 2010 . If this passes the new DARK AGES soon to follow. GOD HAVE MERY ON US."

    Are you serious? Are you really that panicked about this bill?

    I have doubts about your mental health.

    No, really, I'm not engaging in rhetoric. You seem to have issues.

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  • 76. At 3:07pm on 18 Mar 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    Perhaps the Tea Partiers are right and America will slide in to a Nationalistic Socialist morass of Communard government rules and regulations. In any case, it will certainly be nice when this is all over and I can get out my brown shirt and jackboots again. I've been looking forward to rounding up my most conservative neighbors and marching them into health insurance re-education camps. All that goosestepping is going to be great for my thighs.

    "Obamacare macht frei!"

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  • 77. At 3:10pm on 18 Mar 2010, S Thomas wrote:

    > "It is a rallying point for those like Jim Heath who oppose the president and
    > all his works. He tells me: "It's totally outrageous what he wants to do, he
    > wants to transform the country into a socialist nation."

    Sitting here in Europe I have to wonder what is it that's so bad about socialism? Over to you Mr Mardell; please explain why the richest nation on Earth doesn't feel obliged to look after it's own people.

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  • 78. At 3:14pm on 18 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 58, ElEnfadado:

    "...have done a lot less harm than the fascist principles the Republicans seem to admire..."

    I've found myself at odds with Republicans more often than not lately, but I do not believe nor do I think there's an iota of evidence that they embrace fascist principles.

    Nice rant, though.

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  • 79. At 3:19pm on 18 Mar 2010, davvet wrote:

    I AM STUNNED!!! The White House and U.S. Congress refuses to clean-up corruption in the government programs we have now and they want to add another program. YES HELP PEOPLE, BUT CLEAN-UP WHAT WE HAVE ALREADY BEFORE STARTING ANOTHER!!!! THAT IS WHAT PARENTS TEACH THERE CHILDREN, HOWEVER U.S. CONGRESS AND WHITE HOUSE ARE STILL IN THERE DIAPERS!!!!

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  • 80. At 3:23pm on 18 Mar 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    58. At 1:26pm on 18 Mar 2010, ElEnfadado wrote:

    What an absurd, selfish and immoral nation the US has become.

    Please don't confuse the United States as a nation or the majority of her citizens with the Republican party or its members. They currently represent less than 30 percent of registered voters. Defaming the other 70 percent as absurd, selfish and immoral is patently unfair.

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  • 81. At 3:24pm on 18 Mar 2010, CamberwellBeauty wrote:

    I absolutely agree that we need to do something!

    This is the kind of thing however, that doesn't give us taxpayers very much confidence in another Government run healthcare.

    news this morning - excerpt from an article .....

    "A four month "Nightline" investigation into Medicare fraud makes one thing perfectly clear: this is a crime that pays and pays and pays. The federal government admits that a staggering $60 billion is stolen from tax payers through Medicare scams every year. Some experts believe the number is more than twice that."

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  • 82. At 3:25pm on 18 Mar 2010, johnzebut wrote:

    It really is quite funny to read all this bilge about bi-partisanship when the Republican party hasn't a remote interest in cutting a deal on health care. They have a vested interest (electorally and in their wallets) in seeing Obama fall flat on his face on this issue and they've made no secret of the fact.
    As for the comments about it being unconstituional, the American Constitution was written by a bunch of wealthy white men (lots of mentions of "Liberty" but not once is slavery referred to) more than 200 years ago. It is also, I believe, considered to be a living document; multiple amendments have already made to it. Living things change, opponents of health care need to move on and let Obama get to work on the economy. If the economy isn't fixed, and quickly, then health care isn't going to matter much anyway - America will be finished.

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  • 83. At 3:28pm on 18 Mar 2010, Enrique Delgado wrote:

    I'm very proud of President Obama. I like that he is doing what is right, rather than worrying about his re-election possibilities, as so many democrats are. That says to me that they are putting their own interests before the interests of the people they represent.

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  • 84. At 3:33pm on 18 Mar 2010, Enrique Delgado wrote:

    Ref 27, Sam

    Ditto, thanks Sam. I wish people would be more educated than paranoid :-)

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  • 85. At 3:34pm on 18 Mar 2010, drkdsn wrote:

    "America's healthcare market is broken. It is heavily regulated and distorted beyond recognition of anything approaching 'free'."

    I'm wondering by what measure anyone thinks the healthcare market is over-regulated. And, as to pointing to the need for a freer market for them, one needs only to look at the recent financial market implosion to see what an unfettered industry can do to itself, and everyone reliant on it. Unless you somehow think that overzealous regulators are responsible for that too. Good luck with that.

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  • 86. At 3:37pm on 18 Mar 2010, njr1330 wrote:

    And they wonder why people hate them !!

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  • 87. At 4:06pm on 18 Mar 2010, phil callaghan wrote:

    why are you wasting your time (and ours) on commenting on less than 500 people protesting, the vast majority of whom are sadly misinformed and ignorant? ... they listened to Michelle Bachman and a Texan congressman spouting their usual nonsense

    the real story would have not been to quote the ignoramuses but to point out the falsehoods and lies that they state as facts

    but that would have required some thought ... not just quoting a few loonies and giving the impression that they represented a thoughtful response to the health care issue

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  • 88. At 4:06pm on 18 Mar 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    "@powermeerkat (comment 1) I am really frustrated with people who don't understand how this issue is so key for the US economy and therefore for the whole world. Warrend Buffet said "Healthcare in America is like an economic tapeworm". Current projections demonstrate from 17.3% of GDP healthcare spending will rise to 25 and 37% in 2025 and 2050 respectively. Premiums have risen 120% in the last 8 years; 13% of Americans are uninsured. The US spent about double Denmark's GDP per capita on healthcare in 2007 yet have similar life expectancy at birth. IT'S RIDICULOUS STOP MOANING ABOUT FREEDOM AND TRY HELPING THE POOR (AND YOURSELVES!) - NO-ONE IS TAKING YOUR FREEDOM YOU FOOLS"

    Ah yes, when you can't convince people with the logic of your arguments call them names, that'll convince them.

    re. #27, thanks for the summary of what's in the bill but if it's that good then why haven't the administration and Congress been making every effort to advertise what's in it?

    I'm not sold on a couple of the points that they do admit to being in the bill. They propose to require health insuers to cover pre-existing consditions and not be able to turn people down -- both measures good from a consumer standpoint but which would raise insurer's costs and of course be passed on in the form of higher premiums. How exactly is this going to be offset by other savings to hold insurance rates down? Let's see the numbers.

    While we're on the subject of holding down costs, why was tort reform left out? Trial lawyers feed like leeches on the medical care industry, there is no reason they shouldn't share the pain of fixing the system.

    Another question I have is where in the constitution (I know, darn that pesky thing!) is the Federal government granted the authority to require citizens to purchase a product or service or be penalized for not doing so? The usual culprit for expanding Federal power is the much abused regulation of interstate commerce clause but regulating commerce is a far cry from compelling people to engage in it. What kind of precedent are we setting here? Government already gets to take as much of our money as they want and spend it how they like, now they can tell us how we have to spend what we have left?

    I do like the idea of a central exchange for insurance information and opening up the insurance market to allow residents of one state to buy plans offered in another state. That will benefit residents of states like mine where the state has over-regulated and driven health care insurers from the market. (A down side is it also transfers more power from the states to the Federal government but in this case I doubt even the states will really mind.)

    I'd also like to see the details of how health care reform will save us money and lower the deficit. Actually, the lowering the deficit part is easy: they simply start charging us now while implementing it later. If anyone but the government did that it would be called "theft" or "fraud" but I'll settle for "Obamacare".

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  • 89. At 4:15pm on 18 Mar 2010, arclightt wrote:

    All: What all of this suggests to me is that we may finally be at the point where we can no longer make this society work.

    I could write about the lack of a plan to pay our collective debt, or lack of any interest in whether or not our desires for public and private spending are sustainable. We've already discussed that.

    I could write about how little of the current debate is informed by thorough verification / connection of facts with other facts. We've already discussed that.

    Maybe it's time instead to ask what the current events reveal about our ability as a society to interact with each other, and what those events point toward:

    a. When this is over, regardless of how it comes out, will we be able to interact with, trust, and support each other as citizens again, particularly those who disagree with us?

    b. If we think the answer is "no", do we care enough about that to really do anything about it?

    c. If we think the answer is "no", do we expect the other fellow to make all the changes, while we do nothing, or make his changes first before we do anything?

    d. If we think the answer is "no", is there any event or cause that will cause us to do the work necessary to make the "no" a "yes"? Or are we content to remain just hateful, warring tribes forever?

    e. If pass health care, or don't pass health care, but shatter the ability and willingness of the citizens to function as a society, was it worth it?

    f. Or was it better to know sooner rather than later that the compact between citizens is shattered and gone, and start adjusting to that reality instead?

    Arclight

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  • 90. At 4:26pm on 18 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 66, bepa:

    "Its called eugenics."

    This is parody, right?

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  • 91. At 4:26pm on 18 Mar 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    Mark, I believe I kindly requested you not to report on anymore American crazies because of the sheer volume of reporting you had already done on them and the immense amount of damage that said reporting has inflicted on our international reputation. I mean what exactly are you trying to do? Scare every tourist away from ever visiting this country ever again? Frighten all foreign students studying here back to their home countries to finish their degrees? Break up relationships between Americans and foreigners who have decided to build their lives in the US, thereby breaking thousands of hearts as well? Come on! We're in a recession! Don't do this now, please? Tell you what. As soon as the economy picks up again and the Wallstreet bankers resume their favorit pasttime of working our politicians over in earnist, then you can report on every single insane person in this country till your heart's content. OK?


    Now about this entry, you say that "So after months more wrangling we are now back in the House, where Democratic leaders are still trying to win the votes of their colleagues, many of whom are frightened that associating themselves with what they see as a toxic measure will poison their chances for election in November."


    And how is this exactly? Surely they know that health care reform is popular among the American people; that they actually want it to happen, right? I mean they're not as stupid and uninformed as the Tea Partiers, surely? So how is this measure poisonous? How will it hurt, in any way, their chances for reelection? They're not Republican.


    "The vote has yet to take place but it seems clear to me the way this has been done and the utter lack of discipline within the Democratic Party has hugely damaged them, and probably the president.

    It took months of arguments between proponents of rival plans to get anywhere near a vote. Then it took backroom deals and a huge dollop of pork-barrel politics (special favours for individual states to win the votes of their senators) to get what looked like victory in the Senate on Christmas Eve."

    No doubt they really botched this. In my opinion they could have had a much stronger bill had they realized that working with Republicans was always going to be a lost cause, much less start with a united front. But don't kid yourself Mark, pork-barrel politics and backroom deals happen just as much, if not more, when Republicans were/are in power as they do when Democrats are. The only thing that is different is Republicans are much better at agreeing upon a common viewpoint and sticking with it, whereas, as you correctly observed, Democrats engage in far too much infighting.

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  • 92. At 4:38pm on 18 Mar 2010, modernJan wrote:

    At 2:44pm on 18 Mar 2010, drkdsn wrote:
    Socialism in the US? Are you kidding me?

    Why would a nation that -

    1) already runs Medicare/Medicaid (don't forget the VA) -

    2) already spends 650+ billion on defense -

    3) already spends hundreds of billions on farm and oil subsidies -

    4) already backstops a freewheeling casino of a financial system -

    have to worry about socialism? Come on.

    You forgot subsidized electricity and internet connections (without which many teabaggers would be without these services), the public school system, community colleges, the fire departments, mental institutions, subsidized car manufacturers, the police departments, the jails, etc...
    All very much "socialist" but I doubt the teabaggers would wanna get rid of those

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  • 93. At 4:41pm on 18 Mar 2010, clamdip lobster claws wrote:

    They practice medical apartheid in America. It's unconscionable that over a third of Americans don't have adequate health care or the care they do get is to wait in a hospital emergency room for three days. This is the reality for people without medical insurance. Institutions like U.C.L.A. fast track foreigners just in off their private jets before seeing to the needs of poor Americans. It's wrong that this is allowed to happen because its all based on profit when these institutions were built on public funds. America needs to stop bankrolling healthcare for the rest of the world and greedy insurance companies because our system is already at its breaking point

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  • 94. At 4:43pm on 18 Mar 2010, RuefulRupert wrote:

    In a democracy it is sometimes necesary to do things that seem unpopular at the time- especially when it's a case of giving decent care rights to a minority. If that's 'socialism', then so be it. There is such a thing as the tyranny of the majority. Being pesident isn't always about being popular. I hope President Obama retains the strength of his convictions over Health care- and other matters, also.

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  • 95. At 4:54pm on 18 Mar 2010, mountainman91 wrote:

    Is this an op-ed piece or an 'objective' news piece? I can't tell

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  • 96. At 4:56pm on 18 Mar 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    An interlude, local fisher men & artisans. Only in the UK!.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TW5IdBWmWGc&feature=related

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  • 97. At 5:06pm on 18 Mar 2010, acommontater wrote:

    President Pinocchio has shown that he will use any means to subvert the will of the majority of America's citizens! To pass this overpriced monster the proposed bill is like Dr. Frankenstein's creation, made up of so many parts and changes that it is unrecognizable to even some who originally supported it. Now he is saying that he will accept the Slaughter approach that allows the bill to be passed through the House without disclosing those who support the passage.We now can call our congressmen cowards and Washington "Little Chicago"!

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  • 98. At 5:35pm on 18 Mar 2010, TexasPhil wrote:

    10th Amendment:
    The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads as follows:-
    "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the
    States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people"
    2nd Amendment
    The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads as follows:-
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
    In my humble opinion the original intent of both of these amendments was to allow the states to protect itself from the all encompassing federal government (or in those days, the monarchy). The term "to form a militia" was included to allow the government of the state to rally their (armed) residents to protect what was theirs. (Both the states and the individuals).
    It may be time to invoke these

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  • 99. At 5:39pm on 18 Mar 2010, Robert wrote:

    One reason why people have a distaste for socialism: nazi- German, short for Nationalsozialistische deutsche Arbeiter-Partei, National Socialist German Workers' Party

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  • 100. At 5:53pm on 18 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 89., arclightt:

    "All: What all of this suggests to me is that we may finally be at the point where we can no longer make this society work."

    No, I think not. This is a tough issue for America. We are dedicated to the concept of achieving a perfect union of the People, by the People, and for the People and that requires local control of local issues. Ceding power to the Federal government reduces that power, and some Americans are scared of that. I'm not completely comfortable with it myself. This decision really should cause Americans agita.

    "I could write about the lack of a plan to pay our collective debt, or lack of any interest in whether or not our desires for public and private spending are sustainable."

    You could, sure, but that would be wrong. Washington is consumed with these problems right now. The reason why it is so important that this get done is because our health care system is the dominant contributor to the debt crisis. I don't know why some Americans can't process that information.

    "I could write about how little of the current debate is informed by thorough verification / connection of facts with other facts. We've already discussed that."

    Yeah, but I'll still continue to make that argument.

    "a. When this is over, regardless of how it comes out, will we be able to interact with, trust, and support each other as citizens again, particularly those who disagree with us?"

    I think so. I myself just joined the Coffee Party movement. I wanted to go to the next event, but it was over capacity. It's growing so fast the organizers are having to apologize because they can't get their website up fast enough. That's encouraging.

    "e. If pass health care, or don't pass health care, but shatter the ability and willingness of the citizens to function as a society, was it worth it?"

    I think the premise of the question is wrong (you're making a point, I know), but if it were correct, absolutely. We can't go broke. We'll take the world down with us, and I believe it would catch fire on the way down. And we will go broke unless we come up with a plan to rein in the cost of health care.

    We must act, and yes, faster than we're really comfortable with.

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  • 101. At 6:03pm on 18 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 91, PursuitOfLove:

    Journalists are only required to report the truth about what's happening. I'm wary of socially conscious journalism. Just tell me everything that's going on. I'll decide what's important for myself.

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  • 102. At 6:10pm on 18 Mar 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    S Thomas #77: '"Sitting here in Europe I have to wonder what is it that's so bad about socialism? Please explain why the richest nation on Earth doesn't feel obliged to look after it's own people."

    As one who was raised my entire life in this country and who has developed a very keen interest in not only international relations, but how the rest of the world cares for their own, I feel obliged to declare my unshakable belief that there is absolutely nothing wrong with socialism. It's not the type of government I would prefer, personally. But there is a huge difference, you see, between socialism (as defined by the dictionary) and a strong social safety net. I, personally, am in favor of the latter, not the former. But the reason why we have barely the meagerest of social safety nets is because politicians and the ignorant among us (and lets face it, there are a lot) have been soo God damned successful at convincing people that any display of governmental compassion toward one's fellow man is heathenism and evil at it's very finest. Shame, isn't it? All I can say is thank your lucky stars you live where you do!!


    However, some very worrying comments have prompted me to make the following observation. Those who believe the Tea Partiers represent, in any way, America and Americans as a whole are just as ignorant of America as the Tea Partiers are of Obama's health care plans.

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  • 103. At 6:11pm on 18 Mar 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    89. At 4:15pm on 18 Mar 2010, arclightt wrote:

    What all of this suggests to me is that we may finally be at the point where we can no longer make this society work.

    Parts of it have been malfunctioning for quite a while now and I don't see that having health insurance reform will make it worse. Chicken Little arguments aren't going to change minds or make anyone care one whit what their neighbors think of them if they can get health care for themselves and their families. In fact, having to worry less about health issues on a constant basis is probably going to make a large segment of the population quite cheery.

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  • 104. At 6:18pm on 18 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 95, mountainman91:

    "Is this an op-ed piece or an 'objective' news piece? I can't tell."

    It's op-ed. It's not a secret. It's right up there at the top of the page:

    I’m Mark Mardell, the BBC's North America editor. These are my reflections on American politics, some thoughts on being a Brit living in the USA, and who knows what else?

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  • 105. At 6:26pm on 18 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 79, davvet:

    "I AM STUNNED!!! The White House and U.S. Congress refuses to clean-up corruption in the government programs we have now and they want to add another program. YES HELP PEOPLE, BUT CLEAN-UP WHAT WE HAVE ALREADY BEFORE STARTING ANOTHER!!!! THAT IS WHAT PARENTS TEACH THERE CHILDREN, HOWEVER U.S. CONGRESS AND WHITE HOUSE ARE STILL IN THERE DIAPERS!!!!"

    That's what they're proposing to do. Look at post 22. Honestly, what planet are you living on?

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  • 106. At 6:30pm on 18 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    92. At 4:38pm on 18 Mar 2010, modernJan wrote:

    " All very much "socialist" but I doubt the teabaggers would wanna get rid of those"

    I am not sure about those with alternative sexual preferences, or the tea parties for that matter but many Americans do indeed want to get rid of much if not all of the things listed in your post and the one you referenced.

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  • 107. At 6:40pm on 18 Mar 2010, Barbara wrote:

    It has to be said Mark that you are ALWAYS siding with these idiots. The Republican Party and its right-wing lackeys are not the whole of America. The rest of America is centrist and leftist.

    But time and time again, YOU TAKE A RIGHT-WING TILT. Is that what you are paid to do? Have you no shame? On second thought, have you no journalistic impartiality.

    Give it a try. FOR ONCE!

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  • 108. At 6:42pm on 18 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 98, TexasPhil:

    "In my humble opinion the original intent of both of these amendments was to allow the states to protect itself from the all encompassing federal government (or in those days, the monarchy)."

    In those days, it was indeed the federal government (the Constitution was written well after independence). The Framers weren't even unanimous in the need for a federal government.

    "It may be time to invoke these"

    I'm afraid that ship sailed in 1865, sorry.

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  • 109. At 6:44pm on 18 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #36 SD: "The folks he has to convince are his own base...which does not watch or listen to FOX News."




    According to ratings at least some of them do; whether they want to admit it or not.

    Otherwise, considering registered Republicans only, the Fox numbers (measured by independent agencies) simply wouldn't be there.


    BTW.I remember years ago certain U.S. legislator from the Democratic Party quickly folded his newspaper when I and couple of other people entered his office.

    However, not quickly enough for us not to notice the the newspaper in question was Washington...Times. [sic]

    We had a pretty good laugh.

    Of course only after we walked out of his office.

    BTW. the same pertains to "Hustler", which, if you believed many folks' protestations, is read by practically nobody. :-)))

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  • 110. At 6:50pm on 18 Mar 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    98. At 5:35pm on 18 Mar 2010, TexasPhil wrote:

    It may be time to invoke these

    Please, TexasPhil, go right ahead. And while you're doing that we'll have NASA and all our military bases, soldiers, planes and equipment back, thank you very much. We'll also pull the border guards and leave you to the tender mercies of Mexico. So yeah, good luck with that.

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  • 111. At 6:55pm on 18 Mar 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    96. At 4:56pm on 18 Mar 2010, ukwales wrote:

    An interlude, local fisher men & artisans. Only in the UK!.

    Thanks! These guys are better than Celtic Thunder.

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  • 112. At 6:59pm on 18 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    105. At 6:26pm on 18 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    "That's what they're proposing to do. Look at post 22. Honestly, what planet are you living on? "

    Proposing more entitlements when we can't afford the ones we have? Yep, that's exactly what they are doing. I can see no justifiable reason to support a new government program of any kind until they can make SS and Medicare sustainable. Period.

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  • 113. At 7:01pm on 18 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Democrats have announced that other U.S. legislators will be generously given 72 hours to familiarize themselves thoroughly with about 3000 page long final version of their healthcare bill.


    Now, that's what this meerkat calls 'democracy in action'.

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  • 114. At 7:01pm on 18 Mar 2010, DB wrote:

    Mark, I think you're about two months or so behind what's happening on the ground. There's a palpable increase in optimism on the left and a noticeable weakening of intensity on the right as the likelihood of passage of this legislation increases. In a sense, as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher demonstrated, simply being able to wield power makes a government more viable even if the devil remains in the policy details. Getting this legislation passed now -- even though in many ways it's pretty limited in scope -- lays the groundwork for the Democrats to become better organized and make improvements to the reform in the years to come.

    Oh, and never forget Will Rogers -- "I'm not a member of any organized political party -- I'm a Democrat." That will always remain true in this country, because the Democrats have to do triple duty, which I will spell out in British terms; Old Labour, LibDems and Reform Group Tories all in one dysfunctional family; with the Republicans having the much simpler task of representing UKIP and the Monday Club. This is now becoming even more true; just because dyed-in-the-wool Reagan/Thatcher supporters like Andrew Sullivan are more comfortable with Barack Obama than Sarah Palin does not mean they've become comfortable with the Democratic base. So try to imagine, if you will, trade union organizers and hardcore Thatcherites trying to get along in the same party, united only by their alarm at fundamentalism. No wonder it's disorganized.

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  • 115. At 7:06pm on 18 Mar 2010, mitty_w wrote:

    @zimmerk

    Nazis were socialistic in name only. But yes, they do give bad name to the word.

    Nazis did crimes with deliberation. Very bad.

    America does crimes in the name of 'hard' decisions like the Afghan War or Iraq war. A nation is protected. Price for safety? Lives of thousands of American soldiers and 'other' civilians.

    I would fear the incompetent as much as the malicious. Capitalism is to be feared because it forces people to do things like illegal wars, "downsizing", crashing stock markets, excluding sick people from health care etc.,

    Genghis Khan is not a sicko like Hitler - he was a materialistic guy- but he did equivalent damage. His currency was conquest. Today's currency is dollars, petroleum and markets. Go figure.

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  • 116. At 7:06pm on 18 Mar 2010, notmd wrote:

    A leader has to sometimes chose a path that is good for his country not necessarily his party..President has shown tremendous courage and persistence in getting the country to accept the problem and start to move forward..we could have debated cost controls for years without taking any action..this was not an acceptable option..I am proud that he is in the trenches and getting on with the battle ..

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  • 117. At 7:16pm on 18 Mar 2010, tigerlily wrote:

    96 ukwales - Thanks for that. Happy, healthy, handsome men and beautiful singers. No doubt attributed to their universal health care!

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  • 118. At 7:19pm on 18 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    I wish to add to my post #106 above...the *Federal* programs listed and I do not support Federalization of our fire departments.

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  • 119. At 7:26pm on 18 Mar 2010, bepa wrote:

    #90 Andy Post

    When a nation allows 45,000 of its poorest and weakest people to die for lack of medical care its eugenics.


    No Andy I mean it. This is eugenics. Those people who are dying are considered disposable and not worth saving.

    In the past we were losing about 20,000 people a year because they did not have access to health care and the doctors knew it and the AMA opposed universal health care and called it socialized medicine.

    If you know some doctors on a social level you will hear things that will surprise you. There is very little to no compassion for the people who are at the bottom. Many of them blame the victim. This is not all doctors... but there is a sizable number of them...

    Health care is being called an entitlement by these people.

    Did you see the video of the tea baggers harassing the man with Parkinsons' disease? They want to eliminate the weak. These people are bordering on Nazism.

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  • 120. At 7:35pm on 18 Mar 2010, bepa wrote:

    In case those of you in Europe have not seen this shocking video of tea baggers harassing a man who is ill with Parkinsons...Here it is


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ik4f1dRbP8

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  • 121. At 7:35pm on 18 Mar 2010, U13817236 wrote:

    It is exactly the problem "that Obama was quite clear he wanted a healthcare reform, and many of the proposals at the time of the election were considerably more left-wing that(sic) the one now on the table"...in this issue as in every other one right across the board, corporate lackey Obama has sold-out more left-wing shining ideals and pursued a steady course of capitulation to capital. America actually has a long-standing democratic socialist tradition that extends back many decades through such figures as Norman Thomas and Eugene Debs and countless other local organizers. Even today, the most telling criticism of the billion-dollar president comes from the left, not the Tea Party twerps that are even further to the right in their misdirected rage than Obama himself is. It's very true that "'We have a dysfunctional party'"...and it's part of a dysfunctional 'democracy' in a one-party state with two public faces. The president is no more interested in "trying to deliver on what the party should be trying to deliver on" than those "men in suits from the Republican National Congress who stand at the edge of the crowd and try to hand their glossy printed posters"... "and that's sad." So,if you "don't know what the party's there for if it doesn't stand for anything"... it's there to serve corporate interests while maintaining the illusion of democracy. And "win or lose this weekend, it will continue to"...do exactly that, no matter which corporate lackey is elected on "11/6/12 the day I am waiting for [the date of the next presidential election. "'He will be gone in 2012'"...but the system will stay the same. Only true socialism can save us.

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  • 122. At 7:50pm on 18 Mar 2010, bepa wrote:

    No one should be posting that the health care bill will shorten the medicare program's solvency!!!

    The Congressional Budget Office has come out with their report

    "The CBO report said the final bill would extend Medicare's solvency for nine years and reduce annual growth in Medicare expenditures."
    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1822926120100318

    unless you have some data and not just an ideology to support your views.

    And the CBO has stated that the health care bill will...

    CUT THE DEFICIT by

    $139 BILLION in 10 YEARS

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  • 123. At 7:50pm on 18 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 113, powermeerkat:

    "Democrats have announced that other U.S. legislators will be generously given 72 hours to familiarize themselves thoroughly with about 3000 page long final version of their healthcare bill."

    They've seen this document for the better part of year. All they need is to review the changes and they know what to expect.

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  • 124. At 7:51pm on 18 Mar 2010, rodidog wrote:

    Most people are for health care reform, just not this kind of reform. Folks are worried this bill will drive costs up while reducing the availability of services, especially those on Medicaid. In Washington State, pharmacies have already said they will no longer accept new Medicaid customers due to reimbursement levels set by the govt. Doctors are also beginning the same practice for the same reason.

    As for the CBO score, great! Ten years of payments for six years of services, what a deal. I wonder though, what happens to the deficit and the costs for this reform in year eleven or fifteen?



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  • 125. At 7:54pm on 18 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 112, csgators:

    "Proposing more entitlements when we can't afford the ones we have? Yep, that's exactly what they are doing. I can see no justifiable reason to support a new government program of any kind until they can make SS and Medicare sustainable. Period."

    1. Medicare reform is part of this bill.

    2. Go ahead and make your case for prioritizing Social Security above health care. I'd love to see it.

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  • 126. At 8:11pm on 18 Mar 2010, arclightt wrote:

    @100 (AP): Thanks for the thoughtful replies. Here are some responses (got kinda long):
    "our health care system is the dominant contributor to the debt crisis. I don't know why some Americans can't process that information."
    This may or may not be true. Add to this the total costs to move away from petroleum-based energy to a long-term (minimum 100 year) sustainable set of energy sources. Add to that the total cost to repair and then maintain all of our critical infrastructure. Add to that the total cost to educate our young to be responsible citizens AND deal with the continuous retraining that will absolutely be necessary to ensure that our adults can continue to be productive citizens in the face of implacable automation of more and more jobs. Now balance all of that AND health care AND Social Security AND Medicare / Medicaid AND Defense AND all other mandatory and discretionary spending against our total sustainable private wealth base which has to fund all of it, and tell me what you have got.
    This is why I raised this point. This concern goes way, way beyond health care.
    "Yeah, but I'll still continue to make that argument."
    Sorry, you lost me. Which argument?
    "I think so. I myself just joined the Coffee Party movement. I wanted to go to the next event, but it was over capacity. It's growing so fast the organizers are having to apologize because they can't get their website up fast enough. That's encouraging."
    Indeed it is, thanks much for pointing it out, and I support any such activity. It would be very interesting to me to see demographic data showing participation by age group. Wonder if that data is available.
    The concern I have is whether or not this movement, or any such movement, can deal with the extremely high levels of heat and toxicity that have been pumped into the American psyche. In any case, while I'm not a coffee drinker, I'll have to investigate this more. It may offer me a chance to participate in a useful way.
    "I think the premise of the question is wrong (you're making a point, I know), but if it were correct, absolutely. We can't go broke. We'll take the world down with us, and I believe it would catch fire on the way down. And we will go broke unless we come up with a plan to rein in the cost of health care."
    While I agree that getting our financial house in order is a primary task, the point I was making (which you acknowledged) is that our ability to function as a society is orthogonal to, and frankly more important than, the decision on health care, regardless of which way the decision goes .
    If we destroy the trust, respect, and self-discipline in speech and action required to function as a free society, then it won't matter which way we decide health care. We'll go down for sure; it's unclear whether or not we'll take the world with us, but the prospect of a United States, with all the technological, economic, and military power available to it, engaged in any form of civil conflict, is a prospect that should cause everyone here real concern. As Squirrel pointed out eloquently a while back, civil war is ugly in a way that other forms of war aren't, and we now have the technology to really, really devastate each other.
    Fantasy? How many folks thought that we would see genocide again after WWII? We had Pol Pot, the Balkans, Hutus and Tutsis... those come immediately to mind. For low-level conflict, how about Northern Ireland? They all share one characteristic: lots of folks dead and injured, and ongoing pain, hatred, and waste. Now consider just how fast those societies unwound to that kind of behavior, and what outward signs showed beforehand (especially the Balkans). Still unconcerned?
    I've argued before that a representative government and a free society is the most expensive form of government ever conceived, because the coin to pay for it is the active participation by the citizenry, and the commitment to trust each other and to discipline themselves. That coin CANNOT be paid using dollars or other monetary units. Unfortunately, too many folks don't understand that these costs are there, and the bills are already past due.
    I am not saying the sky is falling, but the size and nature of the storm clouds troubles me. As an engineer, rather than presume that things are OK and be surprised when they aren't, I look for ways things can fail, assess the probability and severity of failure, and then decide whether or not something needs to be said or done. I'm no sociologist, but human interaction has rules just like the physical universe, and we violate those at our peril. One thing's certain, from a probability standpoint if no other: We cannot continue to pump heat and poison into our collective existence with no penalty. Those who do such and then prattle about "free speech" or "it's just politics" are absolutely unwise in my opinion, and their example is one I will not follow.
    The Coffee Party seems like a good start; let's hope that it helps us start to valve off some of the ugliness and give us a chance to rediscover what it means to be active participants in a growing, civil society.
    @89 (GLP): Thanks for your thoughtful reply as well. As I tried to explain (voluminously) to Alan, I'm really not focused as much any longer on how health insurance reform plays out (it's pretty much on automatic now, it appears), but what happens once it does.

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  • 127. At 8:29pm on 18 Mar 2010, modernJan wrote:

    @csgators #118

    I wasn't talking about federalization, I was talking about the fact that all of the mentioned services are government run, some federal, some local. Now I don't think you'll want to have private businesses handling police matters, the fire departments and the school system now do you?

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  • 128. At 8:32pm on 18 Mar 2010, bepa wrote:

    Anyone interested in the debate among Catholics about backing this health care bill might enjoy reading this article from National Catholic Reporter:

    http://ncronline.org/print/17458

    "Congress, and its Catholics, should say yes to health care reform. We do not reach this conclusion as easily as one might think. There are, to be sure, grave problems with the bill the House will consider in the next few days. Nonetheless, the choice Congress faces is between the status quo and change -- and the current bill is a profoundly preferable step in the direction of positive change."

    "Congress, and its Catholics, should say yes to health care reform."

    "We do not reach this conclusion as easily as one might think, given the fact that we have supported universal health care for decades, as have the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Catholic Health Association and other official and non-official organs of the Catholic church."

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  • 129. At 8:33pm on 18 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #107

    The majority of the country is moderate and conservative.

    Obama beliefs reflect a small percentage and the American people who were conned by him realize he does not reflect their values and he is unqualified for the position.

    He pales even compared to sarah Palin.

    That is what happens when you elect on hope and change instead of resume and ability

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  • 130. At 8:41pm on 18 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    122. At 7:50pm on 18 Mar 2010, bepa wrote:

    "And the CBO has stated that the health care bill will...

    CUT THE DEFICIT by

    $139 BILLION in 10 YEARS"

    The CBO also states that the bill is basically a ponzi scheme and counts a lot of money twice plus has years of taxation without services to fudge the numbers even more. The CBO has to rate the bill as written, meaning if the bill is a fantasy so is the CBO report.

    BTW this bill has nothing to do with Medicare going broke, it already is:

    http://www.brookings.edu/multimedia/video/2009/0514_social_security_aaron.aspx

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  • 131. At 8:41pm on 18 Mar 2010, Sweet Phoenix wrote:

    Thank you Elenfadao #47

    It has been 20yrs since the last debate on Health care for the USA. Many states have their own children, Medicaid, and Medcare programs funded by federal health care systems. President Obama wants to streamline the waste with fraudulent claims, lower the premium, make it affordable for everyone. I don't hear any positive comments from the Republican party about how they will streamline the waste with fraudulent claims.
    I am embarrassed as an American to know our country doesn't have healthcare yet. It's 2010, President Obama is the past, present and future for our country. At least he is willing to step up to the plate and swing.

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  • 132. At 8:44pm on 18 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #87

    The question is why would any listen to the DailyKos or Huffington post which has less people than the Tea Party whose views reflect lower taxes and less goverment spending.

    Obama does not listen to the general public, but will listen to special interests like the SEIU.

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  • 133. At 8:46pm on 18 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    "2. Go ahead and make your case for prioritizing Social Security above health care. I'd love to see it."

    You want to swap SS for universal health? In retrospect I would agree however the consequences of breaking the promise we already have would be far more devastating to our population then the benefits we would gain. Too late to take SS away without phasing it out/privatizing it. I fully support the gradual privatization of SS, but it is political suicide to even suggest a change the program of any kind.

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  • 134. At 8:49pm on 18 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 122, bepa

    "And the CBO has stated that the health care bill will..."

    As I am sure you have already noticed the debate degenerated long ago from facts to soundbites and political posturing. To opponents of healthcare reform facts are inconsequential, their goal is to damage the credibility of President Obama to regain control of Congress, get back in the White House in 2012, and keep the money flowing.

    If you look carefully at the comments made by Tea Party members, GOP leaders, and conservative bloggers you will very seldom see anything of substance, just empty claims, facile allegations, and fearmongering.

    On a more positive note Rep Dennis Kucinich changed his mind and will vote for passage of the healthcare reform bill, even though he is very disappointed that the public option is no longer part of the bill and that many proggressive improvements have been taken out in a futile attempt to satisfy "conservative" demands. He understands, correctly, that a major change in direction takes time and that the important thing to do is to build a foundation that would allow future administrations to incrementally bring our healthcare system to the same level of excellence that exists in other industrialized nations.

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  • 135. At 8:51pm on 18 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Spinoneone (#8) "Little or no Republican input was allowed/tolerated."

    The Republicans have been given plenty of opportunity to contribute, but they have not shown any inclination to join in a true bipartisan bill. Therefore, the Democrats have taken what ideas they judge to have some merit and incorporated them.

    "So this really is a Democratic as opposed to "bi-partisan" bill."

    That's correct. The Democrats have decided to move ahead without Republican support, and take all the credit (or blame) for it. I'm hoping these parliamentary manoevers do the trick in getting the bill passed.

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  • 136. At 8:52pm on 18 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 119, bepa

    "No Andy I mean it. This is eugenics. Those people who are dying are considered disposable and not worth saving."

    Maybe Sarah had a point...she just directed the death panel charge at the wrong crowd.

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  • 137. At 8:52pm on 18 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    125. At 7:54pm on 18 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    "1. Medicare reform is part of this bill."

    I apologize for not addressing #1 in my last post and will attempt to do so now. The Medicare reform is a change in the markup for prescription drugs in Medicare Advantage. It can be done at any time and no other part of the bill needs this to happen to be effective (if any of it is to begin with). Put it in a separate bill and pass it now. I might actually believe they are serious about addressing costs then at least.

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  • 138. At 8:56pm on 18 Mar 2010, Chris2020 wrote:

    As usual I read the article and all the posts before commenting and, as usual when reading Mardell’s America, so many of the posters simply do not get it. For most non Americans I can dismiss it as simply not understanding the culture, for most Americans I can recognize it for what it is, fierce individualism and partisan politics.
    Here are some keys to understanding American’s positions in the healthcare debate that are not directly related to health care but, help explain what you see in the debate over it.

    1, Americans are fiercely individualist. We all form our own opinions based on the news we watch / hear and along with our world view, come up with an opinion. Now that is really all humans but, should be spelled out as contrary to the comments of rabid partisans saying why the ‘other side’ thinks as they do. The truth is most people do pay attention but we know all media is biased in one way or another so where you choose to get your news will be based on your own world view. This plays out in the real world with groups like the Tea Party movement or moveon .org. In America citizens have the right to disagree with any administration. Sadly this can also lead to some of the lower points of American political discourse such as the vial partisans who would use the term ‘Tea baggers’ for tea party people, knowingly and willfully disparaging fellow citizens for disagreeing with the government in power at the time, decent Americans dismiss them outright.

    2. Americans are self reliant. Now this has been changing over the years, which is why the debates seem so crazed. Most people would simply prefer to live as they see fit and take their chances. You work you get money and spend that money as you wish / need to. Most American’s expect very little from the government, especially as it so often messes up whatever it touches. We do not expect anything to be given to us. Now this is where much of the divide is over healthcare, there is a growing segment of people in America who expect things to be provided vs. many people who feel they will provide for themselves or do without. These two divergent outlooks clash especially when it comes to government provided anything.

    3. In the American system of government the party out of power is responsible to the people to continue to work for what they believe is right for the country. That is why the republicans can not simply ‘go along’ or ‘shut up and work with the president’ as some of the more naive comments have suggested. Republicans have a responsibility to the country to counter the democrats as best then can when they disagree with the direction the democrats are going. We call it patriotic dissent.

    4. As anything at all ever provided by the government is paid for by taxes there is nothing free. Now this feeds into the self reliance but, also something more. American’s are hard working and expect others to be as well. Now, in today’s America (and not including the unemployed from the recession) we are on track for 50% of the population of people residing in America (notice I did not specify citizens) not paying any federal taxes. As much as people like to talk about fairness this creates an inherently unfair system, half of the population paying for the services enjoyed by all. Now it is one thing for this to happen for national defense or law enforcement, it is another for welfare and healthcare. Although Americans are incredibly charitable and caring about their fellow man, being forced to pay for everything for some who does not contribute rubs many hard working forks the wrong way.

    5. Politicians lie. This sadly is probably not an American phenomenon at all. This is a fact, much like the sky being blue, politicians lie, sometimes they are caught and shown to be lying other times the media ignores the lie due to partisan sensibilities. Every American knows politicians lie, often by saying they will do something they have no authority to do, like fix the schools. For Example: A president in America can not hire a single teacher, what they can do is give instructions to the department of education who then puts together plans that states must follow to get federal funds, therefore “I will hire X # of teachers” sounds great as a campaign pledge but, hiring teachers is not part of the presidents job description. So although we all know that in one way or another all politicians lie some people are able to wrestle up some trust every 4 years or for a new player on the scene. Part of the current problem is that some people believed everything candidate Obama said on the campaign trail without considering how much of what he said is not up to him to do anyway so we are left with many disappointed people as we are a year or so after any election.

    O.k. this may be a bit much but, I tried to shed some light on the heat thrown by the American public’s healthcare discussion.

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  • 139. At 8:56pm on 18 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    @arclightt

    I don't always agree with everything you write but you always make a ton of sense, keep up the great posts.

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  • 140. At 8:59pm on 18 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 72, squirrelist

    "Now here's a thought; all those countries with 'socialised' health care could charge 'health tourists' more (but still less, probably than US hospitals and doctors) and thereby make the taxes we pay for it cheaper for the rest of us. Might even pay for a few more new hospitals. Good idea!"

    Private healthcare costs in Europe and, especially, in countries like India are a fraction of what we pay for surgery in the USA...and since a very large number of doctors in the USA are from India the only difference would be the scenery and getting used to curry and mango chutney!

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  • 141. At 8:59pm on 18 Mar 2010, CamberwellBeauty wrote:

    126. At 8:11pm on 18 Mar 2010, arclightt wrote:

    ....too much to paste (go and read it yourelves!!).
    Thanks arclightt, for a really interesting post!

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  • 142. At 9:12pm on 18 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    phil callaghan (#87) "why are you (Mardell) wasting your time (and ours) on commenting on less than 500 people protesting, the vast majority of whom are sadly misinformed and ignorant?"

    Mr. Mardell is not wasting your time. If you are reading and posting in a forum which you think is a waste of time, you are wasting your own time.

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  • 143. At 9:23pm on 18 Mar 2010, bepa wrote:

    #130 csgators quote "BTW this bill has nothing to do with Medicare going broke, it already is:
    http://www.brookings.edu/multimedia/video/2009/0514_social_security_aaron.aspx

    You are either not reading your own link or lying. I think you are lying.

    This is a QUOTE from YOUR link

    "The system has enough money until sometime late in the 2030s or early 2040s. It does face a long term deficit, and the sooner we deal with that problem the better, but there is really no cause for hand ringing that the sky is falling."

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  • 144. At 9:33pm on 18 Mar 2010, Sweet Phoenix wrote:

    My apology to Elenfadado. I meant #58 for a reference to my comment. I agree with Ghostofsichuan #47 comment also.
    I have been sick and I went to the doctor yesterday. Cost with insurance (including 2 prescriptions) was $53.00. If a person went in to the office with the same illness without insurance, cost would be $145.00.
    The office visit was $82.00. Facts not fiction.

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  • 145. At 9:33pm on 18 Mar 2010, bepa wrote:

    #134 SaintDominick

    These people are lying and they should be called liars.

    They are horrible human beings who are willing to allow 45,000 Americans to die every year... and they have the nerve to call themselves "patriots"

    This is an excerpt from the letter from the almost 60,000 Catholic nuns who are calling for health care for Americans.

    http://www.networklobby.org/press/3-17-10HealthcareSistersLetter.htm

    We have witnessed firsthand the impact of our national health care crisis, particularly its impact on women, children and people who are poor. We see the toll on families who have delayed seeking care due to a lack of health insurance coverage or lack of funds with which to pay high deductibles and co-pays. We have counseled and prayed with men, women and children who have been denied health care coverage by insurance companies. We have witnessed early and avoidable deaths because of delayed medical treatment.

    The health care bill that has been passed by the Senate and that will be voted on by the House will expand coverage to over 30 million uninsured Americans. While it is an imperfect measure, it is a crucial next step in realizing health care for all. It will invest in preventative care. It will bar insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. It will make crucial investments in community health centers that largely serve poor women and children. And despite false claims to the contrary, the Senate bill will not provide taxpayer funding for elective abortions. It will uphold longstanding conscience protections and it will make historic new investments – $250 million – in support of pregnant women. This is the REAL pro-life stance, and we as Catholics are all for it.

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  • 146. At 9:41pm on 18 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    @bepa

    I'm glad you have enough faith in the government to think they will fix this in less than 20 years, they have not shown such courage in the past. Remember this is just 1 entitlement and accounts for almost 13% of our budget currently with the looming retirement of the baby boomers ready to increase it rapidly.

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  • 147. At 9:47pm on 18 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    The reconciliation bill has been reported out of committee:

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/03/18/health.care.main/index.html

    This article reports on the Congressional Budget Office analysis.

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  • 148. At 10:00pm on 18 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Posts on this and other threads about the fact that almost 50% of Americans don't pay Federal Taxes are based on unsubstantiated allegations made by Sen. McCain during the last presidential campaign which were, not surprisingly, happily endorsed by none other than Rush Limbaugh.

    According to the Brookings Tax Policy Center the number of "tax units" that were not expected to pay federal taxes in 2009 was actually 38%. Tax units are defined as singles, couples, or families with no tax liability because their annual income is $20,000 or less.

    What is an outrage is not that the lowest quintile of our population does not pay federal taxes, but the number of people living at or below the poverty line in the self-prescribed richest country in the world.

    I think it is also important to point out that being exempt from income tax does not mean employers do not deduct taxes from their payroll checks, they simply get their money back when they file their tax returns. It is also important to note that the poor are not exempt from paying state sales tax, excise taxes, etc.

    What is unfair is not that the wealthiest Americans may have to pay more taxes, but that the income gap is so wide that tens of millions of Americans are living in poverty without hope of ever getting ahead. Perhaps those that demonize the poor should take a sabbatical and spend a few months trying to survive on poverty wages...

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  • 149. At 10:02pm on 18 Mar 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    102 pursuit
    "As one who was raised my entire life in this country and who has developed a very keen interest in not only international relations, but how the rest of the world cares for their own, I feel obliged to declare my unshakable belief that there is absolutely nothing wrong with socialism. It's not the type of government I would prefer, personally."


    I'm sorry to nitpick with you as we seem to be of the same general opinion .... but you appear to be falling into the trap of actually discussing "socialism" and thereby validating the incorrect nonsense put out by the Tea Party.

    "Socialism" is a failed ideology and this is why they are trying constantly to link Obama's policies to it ..... however the important thing to remember is that NONE of these policies is remotely like socialism.

    As you say, a social safety net is a benefit to the nation in general as it protects the least fortunate. However NONE of the western democracies that have universal healthcare could technically be described as socialist.

    Let's simply stop acknowledging this presumed link to socialism .... it is becoming a meme among those who have not the education to see beyond the soundbites and dogma.

    __________________________________________________

    pursuitoflove continues...
    "Those who believe the Tea Partiers represent, in any way, America and Americans as a whole are just as ignorant of America as the Tea Partiers are of Obama's health care plans."


    This is of course absolutely true .... however the Tea Partiers are very well organised with their PR machine and spokespeople. They are getting their message out far more effectively, thereby creating the impression to the casual observer that they represent the feeling of the majority of Americans.

    Wake up and smell the coffee.

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  • 150. At 10:06pm on 18 Mar 2010, bepa wrote:

    #146 csgators

    If other western nations can offer their citizens these benefits why can't America? What's wrong with America?

    Imo the problem is that we are electing people into government who are weakening it from within...and these people represent the corporations and not the people of America.

    Americans are told..we are different..we have better values...more independent ,..blah blah blah

    If Americans ever began to understand what is offered in other nations they would be furious at how Americans are denied health care.

    45,000 DEATHS in a year..that is like a city being wiped off the map.
    Imagine if everyone in Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania died in a year?

    45,000 Americans lose their lives every year because America can not offer universal health care!!!

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  • 151. At 10:10pm on 18 Mar 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    107. Barbara wrote:
    "It has to be said Mark that you are ALWAYS siding with these idiots. The Republican Party and its right-wing lackeys are not the whole of America. The rest of America is centrist and leftist.
    But time and time again, YOU TAKE A RIGHT-WING TILT. Is that what you are paid to do?"


    WOW - but I read so often from the right wing about the constant left-wing bias of the media in general and the BBC in particular.

    Which is it? I'm confused..... or is Mark just over-compensating to avoid accusations of "liberal bias"? (And what makes you think he is siding with them????)





    ps remember Justin Webb was also accused of both left and right wing bias over the 2008 election.

    It seems that many americans are not familiar with the idea of a media which asks difficult questions of both sides .... rather than simply becoming a mouthpiece of one or other.

    Remember back in the 1997 British elections ..... in the weeks before the election John Majors decaying Conservative party lodged complaints of BBC bias in favour of New Labour .... and within weeks of winning the election New Labour had lodged a complaint of bias in favour of the (now opposition) Conservatives! It is simply a good example of the media doing its job, which is to put politicians on the spot and to focus on many facets of an argument rather than propagandise.

    The BBC is by no means perfect, but when did you last hear of FOX showing liberal bias, or MSNBC showing republican bias.

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  • 152. At 10:13pm on 18 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    From the CBO:

    "The key point is that the savings to the HI trust fund under the PPACA would be received by the government only once, so they cannot be set aside to pay for future Medicare spending and, at the same time, pay for current spending on other parts of the legislation or on other programs."

    Letter from the Congressional Budget Office:
    http://sessions.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?Fuseaction=Files.View&FileStore_id=59769b97-5bd2-40d8-bef3-64fb7c228ee2 [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

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  • 153. At 10:15pm on 18 Mar 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    119 bepa
    "Did you see the video of the tea baggers harassing the man with Parkinsons' disease? They want to eliminate the weak. These people are bordering on Nazism."

    Bepa - while I agree with your sentiment, if those of us on the "compassionate" side of the argument resort to crass name calling we weaken our own argument.....oh, and as ever, the "N" word should not be used lightly.

    Best leave the crass name calling to the Tea Partiers .... they are much better at it.

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  • 154. At 10:20pm on 18 Mar 2010, Doctuer_Eiffel wrote:

    It really does not matter what the quality of life is for any number of people capitalisms squeeze is always the same degree of pinch.

    My advice is go and grab free health care because frankly you may as well have something for all that tax being squandered by your government.

    There is a reason why people of all political stripe:
    extreme left, left, middle, right, and extreme right would fight tooth and claw to keep our national health service in the UK and why we fight against creeping privatisation of WHAT BELONGS TO ALL OF US. Guess what it is?

    Yep it belongs to all of us so keep your sinister parasitism out of it.

    Freedom from health care worries is REAL freedom.
    Try it before you buy it.

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  • 155. At 10:32pm on 18 Mar 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    148 saint d
    "What is an outrage is not that the lowest quintile of our population does not pay federal taxes, but the number of people living at or below the poverty line in the self-prescribed richest country in the world."


    Well said.

    Where's the compassion for those less fortunate.....?

    For all our Godless secularism in Europe we're alot more compassionate to the unfortunate. In general I believe people would rather accept that one sponger will rip off the system that allows five genuinely needy to benefit .... the con men will always find a way, but if you tighten the net too much, the only ones who suffer are the most needy.

    And before the rants start I also would like to see vast investment in improvements in education and youth motivation, regeneration of deprived urban areas (Publius are you there?) and the reintroduction of real training programs like apprenticeships instead of this pipe-dream idea that everyone should have a college degree.

    It's a long uphill struggle, but the next generations are our future and they deserve better.

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  • 156. At 10:34pm on 18 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    126. At 8:11pm on 18 Mar 2010, arclightt wrote:

    "Now balance all of that AND health care AND Social Security AND Medicare / Medicaid AND Defense AND all other mandatory and discretionary spending against our total sustainable private wealth base which has to fund all of it, and tell me what you have got."

    A big headache, that's what we've got.

    We're still trying to prove that this type of government can long endure. After World War II we seemed to think we'd answered that question affirmatively. I don't think so. We were in dire straits only six years before. And there are still aspects of this vision that need building, not just rebuilding. Self interest destroys democracies, yes. We're facing that head on, now. It's a tough challenge, but a worthy endeavor to be sure. If we fail, we'll be held up as failures in the great pantheon of history. It's way too early in the struggle to give up. Sometimes you just have to have faith, good ol' blind faith.

    Join me in a chorus of We Shall Overcome, will you? It's good for the soul.

    "Sorry, you lost me. Which argument?"

    That the People are basically uninformed. I agree with you. It's just that I think the argument bears repeating ad nauseum if necessary.

    "As Squirrel pointed out eloquently a while back, civil war is ugly in a way that other forms of war aren't, and we now have the technology to really, really devastate each other."

    As a kid in the early seventies, it seemed like the very social fabric of this country was unraveling. I don't get that feeling at all, now. Sure, some people are even more angry now than they were during the counterculture movement, but the number of people fighting mad is a mere fraction what it was back then. The people in my sphere are disgusted, yes, but not with each other, with Washington. The internet has given a relatively tiny group of people a powerful megaphone, but it's still a tiny group of people. I think the effect of this new technology is to give people more power to have their voices heard than before (which is a good thing), but the volume their histrionics achieve today would have taken hundred of thousands of people even twenty years ago... and we still expect that it does.

    I suggest we pay attention to the man behind the curtains.



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  • 157. At 10:35pm on 18 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    150. At 10:06pm on 18 Mar 2010, bepa wrote:
    "45,000 DEATHS in a year..that is like a city being wiped off the map."

    Where do you get that number? Would they have lived a day longer? A week? A year? I work for a few doctors and from what I have seen they see and treat EVERYONE regardless of their ability to pay, you would not believe the amount of money doctors write off every year as noncollectable. I am talking about just a few private practices of varying specialties. Not to mention the large charities and local churches and funds that help people. Ever been to a Ronald McDonald House? I have and they are amazing...evil capitalists I guess though.

    Number of deaths for leading causes of death:

    * Heart disease: 631,636
    * Cancer: 559,888
    * Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 137,119
    * Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 124,583
    * Accidents (unintentional injuries): 121,599
    * Diabetes: 72,449
    * Alzheimer's disease: 72,432
    * Influenza and Pneumonia: 56,326
    * Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 45,344
    * Septicemia: 34,234

    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm

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  • 158. At 10:41pm on 18 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    RomeStu (#151) "Which is it? I'm confused . . . "

    Me, too. I don't see the "right-wing tilt" that Barbara complained about. It seems to me that people who complain about bias in the media actually want the media to be biased in favor of their own views.

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  • 159. At 10:51pm on 18 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 126, arclightt:

    "Fantasy? How many folks thought that we would see genocide again after WWII? We had Pol Pot, the Balkans, Hutus and Tutsis... those come immediately to mind. For low-level conflict, how about Northern Ireland? They all share one characteristic: lots of folks dead and injured, and ongoing pain, hatred, and waste. Now consider just how fast those societies unwound to that kind of behavior, and what outward signs showed beforehand (especially the Balkans). Still unconcerned?"

    These are all examples of ethnic violence, all of which have existed for hundreds of years. I don't see any indication we're heading that way. Maybe Shining Path or Black Hand would be a better parallel, but I don't see that happening, either. Americans accuse each other of having ideologies other than the American one, but no one really does. The People are overwhelmingly committed to the same ideology. We just don't agree on what constitutes a threat to it. That's American democracy. Always has been. Always will be.

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  • 160. At 10:56pm on 18 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    150. At 10:06pm on 18 Mar 2010, bepa wrote:

    "If other western nations can offer their citizens these benefits why can't America? What's wrong with America?"

    Why does that mean we are wrong? We have done pretty well to date despite some problems in the past and now. Have you ever stopped to think that a handout isn't always the best way to help someone? Especially from a nameless faceless government? Often failure and desperation can push people to succeed and try harder. How does being dependent on government help the recipient? They lose self esteem and the will and need to try harder and find a way. I know and acknowledge that not everyone can do more and some need help but the more the government intervenes the less accountability there is. I have lived in many states and many towns and I have never, ever seen someone starve to death or freeze to death or lack medical treatment due to poverty or the lack of charity from others.

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  • 161. At 10:58pm on 18 Mar 2010, bepa wrote:

    #153 Romestu

    I am not calling them names.
    That is what I believe they are

    They believe in Social Darwinism..where the strong survive and the weak should die just as they believe is found in nature. Who lives or dies depends on the ability to make money and to get jobs that have health care attached to it.

    They want to eliminate the weak in society..What philosophy supports that? You tell me...

    "The current health care bill, for all of its problems and all of its controversies, will further turn our society in the direction of solidarity and away from the Social Darwinism its opponents prefer."
    http://ncronline.org/print/17458

    Its eugenics and Social Darwinism. What groups support those ideas? You tell me...

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  • 162. At 11:01pm on 18 Mar 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    154 doctuer eiffel
    "Freedom from health care worries is REAL freedom."


    Hear! Hear!

    I hope the Coffee Party (or even the President's speech writer) will be contacting you with a lucrative slogan writing contract for their counter-offensive against the Tea Party.

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  • 163. At 11:02pm on 18 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 119, bepa:

    "No Andy I mean it. This is eugenics. Those people who are dying are considered disposable and not worth saving."

    Perhaps, but that's not eugeics:

    Eugenics is the study and practice of selective breeding applied to humans, with the aim of improving the species. In a historical and broader sense, eugenics can also be a study of "improving human genetic qualities." -- Wiki

    Considering the horrors that explorations of this practice led to, -- the Holocaust -- I'd personally prefer to keep the definition the way it is.

    I would agree with some of your observations. My explanation is that Americans believe so much in the Free Market that they apply it to people. We discard people that can't prove their worth as human beings by earning a lot of money. It affects far more than those who die due to lack of adequate health care. I think it's incredibly cold hearted, and it's one of the things I really don't like about my country.

    But eugenics is exponentially worse.

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  • 164. At 11:07pm on 18 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 159, my own post responding to arclightt:

    Oops, Pol Pot would be a good example of a violent ideologue, too. Sorry.

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  • 165. At 11:08pm on 18 Mar 2010, bepa wrote:

    #157 csgators quote "Where do you get that number?"

    Harvard University Study

    http://harvardscience.harvard.edu/medicine-health/articles/new-study-finds-45000-deaths-annually-linked-lack-health-coverage

    Uninsured, working-age Americans have 40 percent higher death risk than privately insured counterparts

    SEPTEMBER 17, 2009

    DAVID CECERE
    CAMBRIDGE HEALTH ALLIANCE

    Nearly 45,000 annual deaths are associated with lack of health insurance, according to a new study published online today by the American Journal of Public Health. That figure is about two and a half times higher than an estimate from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2002.

    The study, conducted at Harvard Medical School and Cambridge Health Alliance, found that uninsured, working-age Americans have a 40 percent higher risk of death than their privately insured counterparts, up from a 25 percent excess death rate found in 1993."

    skip

    "Deaths associated with lack of health insurance now exceed those caused by many common killers such as kidney disease. An increase in the number of uninsured and an eroding medical safety net for the disadvantaged likely explain the substantial increase in the number of deaths, as the uninsured are more likely to go without needed care."

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  • 166. At 11:16pm on 18 Mar 2010, bepa wrote:

    This is what is happening in America. This is the shame of America

    The US has a third world nation within its borders and they are denied health care.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601124&sid=a7nPUv9yFWGg&refer=home

    Diseases Plaguing Poorer Nations Are Common in U.S.

    June 23 (Bloomberg) -- Millions of U.S. residents, mostly poor women and children, suffer from preventable diseases that are more common among impoverished people in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

    skip

    If these diseases were hitting wealthy people in the suburbs, we would never tolerate it,'' said Hotez, chairman of microbiology at the George Washington University in Washington

    skip

    `Here we have real suffering, real diseases among the poorest people living in the U.S.,'' he said.

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  • 167. At 11:16pm on 18 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 150, bepa

    "If Americans ever began to understand what is offered in other nations they would be furious at how Americans are denied health care."

    Indeed. Part of the problem is that many Americans are convinced that our healthcare system is the best in the world and everyone else's is substandard. While it is true that we have excellent doctors and hospitals in the USA - which are as good as the best in other developed nations - the truth is that the average American does not have access to excellence in the field of medical care.

    Most of us are confined to a list of "in-network" doctors and hospitals selected by our insurance company and they are far from being as good as those famous doctor and hospitals we so often cite as an example of American prowess.

    If that was not bad enough, we also have to deal with pre-existing conditions, caps, co-pays, deductibles, and lack of portability when we change or lose our jobs.

    Quite frankly, when you read what is being proposed it is hard to believe that people continue to accept the misinformation they are being fed and still insist in keeping our inefficient and expensive system as is. The changes may not be perfect, but if passed it would be a vast improvement over what we currently have and it would build a foundation that could be used to make incremental improvements in the future.

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  • 168. At 11:18pm on 18 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    Well, fine; people object here that they can't trust 'socalised medicine' or 'big government' to manage heath insurance. But they can trust insurance companies in a capitalist (oh, sorry, that's 'free enterprise' now, isn't it?) system?

    Heard of 'rescision'? (Lovely word.)

    This is from a Reuters report today about the conclusion of a case in which an insurance company rescinded a policy when the policy-holder became ill:

    ' Their motive, according to the judge, was obvious: "The court finds that Fortis wrongfully elevated its concerns for maximizing profits over the rights and interest of its customer." In upholding Nettles' verdict, the South Carolina Supreme Court similarly ruled that "Fortis was motivated to avoid the losses it would undoubtedly incur in supporting Mitchell's costly medical condition."

    "In addition to these acts towards (Mitchell) there was evidence that Fortis has for some time been making recommendations for rescission, and acting on those recommendations, without good-faith investigation conducted fairly and objectively ... Fortis pre-programmed its computer to recognize the billing codes for expensive health conditions, which triggers an automatic fraud investigation by its "Cost Containment" division whenever such a code is recognized."
    . . .
    ' A 2007 investigation by a California state regulatory agency, the California Department of Managed Health Care, bore this out. The DMHC randomly selected 90 instances in which Anthem Blue Cross of California, one of WellPoint's largest subsidiaries, canceled the insurance of policy holders after diagnoses with costly or life-threatening illnesses to determine how many were legally justified.

    'The result: The agency concluded that Anthem Blue Cross lacked legal grounds for canceling policies in every single instance.

    "In all 90 files, there was no evidence (that Blue Cross), before rescinding coverage, investigated or established that the applicant's omission/misrepresentation was willful," the DMHC report said.'

    [Fortis is now known as 'Assurant'.]

    It appears that Assurant made 150 million dollars from this process between 2003 and 2007. [House Energy and Commerce Committee] However, the CEO (in a purely coincidental change of heart, I presume) told the same committee on June 16th: "We can achieve the goal we share: providing health care coverage for all Americans," Hamm said. "If a system can be created where coverage is available to everyone and all Americans are required to participate, the process we are addressing today, rescission, becomes unnecessary."

    Discuss.

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  • 169. At 11:20pm on 18 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 159, Andy

    "Americans accuse each other of having ideologies other than the American one, but no one really does. The People are overwhelmingly committed to the same ideology. We just don't agree on what constitutes a threat to it. That's American democracy. Always has been. Always will be."

    With the exception of radical elements on both sides more often than not the disagreement among us is not about the destination, but how to get there.

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  • 170. At 11:20pm on 18 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    165. At 11:08pm on 18 Mar 2010, bepa wrote:

    Thanks for the link, one thing to remember is that many people have no insurance by choice, this shows a mind more likely to take risks and also more likely to die because of said risks. The very poor whom you think we are trying to euthanize do HAVE insurance! It's the lower middle class who can't get it.

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  • 171. At 11:20pm on 18 Mar 2010, RomeStu wrote:


    Andy post
    "For low-level conflict, how about Northern Ireland?"

    It's not an example to make the US look good at all.

    "Since 1969, the provincial death toll has grown to about 3500 in an area whose population is only about 1.6 million. A comparable relative death toll in America would be about 560,000."

    source http://www.flashpoints.info/countries-conflicts/Northern_Ireland-web/n-ireland_briefing.html


    Now lets look at the total number of murders with guns in the USA during that 51 year period ..... I couldn't find the exact stats but (and I'm erring considerably on the side of caution here) let's take the annual gun murder rate in the US to be 10,000, making a total of 510,000 ..... thus the USA murder rate compares roughly with a country that suffered 50 years of continuous domestic terrorism .....

    ....and you people are worried about Al-Quaeda!!! You're your own worst enemy.

    Hmmmmm. USA - more guns reduce murder .... NOT!

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  • 172. At 11:23pm on 18 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    163. At 11:02pm on 18 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    "My explanation is that Americans believe so much in the Free Market that they apply it to people. We discard people that can't prove their worth as human beings by earning a lot of money."

    Doesn't seem to have worked, does it? Still seem to be a lot of poor people in the USA.

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  • 173. At 11:23pm on 18 Mar 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    Andypost --- re my 171.

    I think, re-reading your post and arclightt's that I may have attributed to you ideas which you did not express (nor do you hold).

    However my comments on the comparable murder rates between a "safe and free" USA and a Northern Ireland in the thrall of terrorism for 50 years still stand.

    Apologies for the confusion.

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  • 174. At 11:25pm on 18 Mar 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    160 csgators
    "Have you ever stopped to think that a handout isn't always the best way to help someone?"


    Well if you can't compassionate be economically sensible.

    Countries with socialised medicine / universal health care spend much less per capita on healthcare than the USA and have a longer life expectancy and a lower rate of infant mortality.

    Do it for greedy economic reasons ... the result may then just help some poor folk by accident.

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  • 175. At 11:30pm on 18 Mar 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    161 bepa
    "Its eugenics and Social Darwinism. What groups support those ideas? You tell me..."


    As I said before .... I agree with your sentiments. It is just that I don't beleive that calling people "Nazis" is going to help resolve the situation, and in the long run that is what is required. They only need to maintain the status quo, whereas for real change to happen the easily-led, sound-bite gobbling masses must be shown that this is something good. If you call them Nazis then the Tea Party has a red rag to wave at its mob "Those dang liberals called you Nazis...." and then they grow through ignorance and rhetoric.

    We must win the war with ideas - not easy at the best of times, but made harder by giving in to name-calling.

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  • 176. At 11:31pm on 18 Mar 2010, bepa wrote:

    #163 Andy Post quote "But eugenics is exponentially worse."

    You are right. but some of the people who are willing to lose those 45,000 American lives every year do consider it to be a way to preserve the health of the species.

    They consider it to be a way to cleanse the US of the weak and ill which are a drain on the American economy. To my mind that view is as unamerican as supporting legalized torture or invading another nation for economic gain.

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  • 177. At 11:33pm on 18 Mar 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    161 bepa
    "They believe in Social Darwinism..where the strong survive and the weak should die just as they believe is found in nature."


    Surely many of them have no truck with any sort of Darwinism. God made them poor and lazy so He must want them to suffer.

    Nice.

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  • 178. At 11:34pm on 18 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    160. At 10:56pm on 18 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    "I have never, ever seen someone starve to death or freeze to death or lack medical treatment due to poverty or the lack of charity from others."

    Neither have I. So?

    I've lived on a flight path to London's biggest airport for years, but I've never seen a plane crash, either.

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  • 179. At 11:34pm on 18 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    168. At 11:18pm on 18 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    So they broke the rules, got sued and lost? Is this where I bring up that young man that died of dehydration and blame it on the NHS? That is why tort reform is a slippery slope, everyone acts like the insurance companies can do what ever they want with consequences but it is not so.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/8553343.stm

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  • 180. At 11:35pm on 18 Mar 2010, MariaTee wrote:

    I think that the biggest problem is that Americans do not trust government agencies to be able to do anything right. And rightfully so, in my opinion.
    That's a huge task that no politician even wants to talk about: weed out the bad apples who, in every agency, give it a bad name. Change the mentality of all Americans so that every government worker can be proud of who he/she is and will want to do the best possible job; and as a consequence Americans will start believing that their government may be capable of administering health insurance for all.

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  • 181. At 11:43pm on 18 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    174. At 11:25pm on 18 Mar 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    "Countries with socialised medicine / universal health care spend much less per capita on healthcare than the USA and have a longer life expectancy and a lower rate of infant mortality."

    While those numbers need to inspected* to learn the real truth behind them if universal health was the debate rather than this streaming pile of excrement I just might support it.

    * Infant mortality rates are tallied differently and our shorter lifespan average has nothing to do with healthcare.

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  • 182. At 11:43pm on 18 Mar 2010, FrankMcG wrote:

    Doesn't it bother any of you that the whole thing about healtcare is not constitutional. The US is not a democracy, it is a republic with rules and limitations on the authority of government. We are no longer being represented, we are being ruled by a bunch of self-serving pompous asses. As a tax paying citizen, I only want to see them pass one new law "GOYLAAW" i.e. Get Off Your Lazy Ass and Work. Why, because the rest of us don't own you anything.

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  • 183. At 11:45pm on 18 Mar 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    Andypost & bepa .... re Eugenics

    Some surprising countries have practiced euthanasia in the past .... Sweden, Australia .... and, well

    Check this out ...

    http://civilliberty.about.com/od/gendersexuality/tp/Forced-Sterilization-History.htm

    1907 - Indiana becomes the first state in the country to successfully pass a mandatory forced sterilization law, in this case impacting the "feebleminded" (mentally handicapped).

    1927 - In Buck v. Bell, the U.S. Supreme Court rules (8-1) that laws mandating the sterilization of the mentally handicapped do not violate the Constitution. Writing for the majority, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes makes an explicitly eugenic argument:

    "It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind."

    1936 - Nazi propaganda defends Germany's forced sterilization program by citing the United States as an ally in the eugenic movement, and its laws as proof of its status as same. World War II, and the atrocities committed by the Nazi government, would rapidly change U.S. attitudes towards eugenics.

    1970 - The Nixon administration dramatically increases Medicaid-funded sterilization of low-income Americans, primarily Americans of color. While these sterilizations are voluntary as a matter of policy, anecdotal evidence later suggests that they are often involuntary as a matter of practice as patients are often misinformed, or left uninformed, regarding the nature of the procedures that they have agreed to undergo.

    1979 - A survey conducted by Family Planning Perspectives finds that approximately 70% of American hospitals fail to adequately follow U.S. Department of Health and Human Services guidelines regarding informed consent in cases of sterilization.

    1981 - Oregon performs the last legal forced sterilization in U.S. history.


    Perhaps these Tea Partiers are just repackaging some old ideas in a more subtle way.....

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  • 184. At 11:47pm on 18 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    Sorry here is a better link:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1255858/Neglected-lazy-nurses-Kane-Gorny-22-dying-thirst-rang-police-beg-water.html

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  • 185. At 11:59pm on 18 Mar 2010, bepa wrote:

    #177 RomeStu & #160 csgators

    Instead of looking at the problems and saying .."What is causing people to behave this way " and trying to find solutions that work..people like csgators believe in blaming the victim and asking them to solve their own problems..and denying that any problem exists outside of the individual's lack of fortitude.

    #182 FrankMcG is another one

    Usually statistically they are white protestant males..other statistical groups have more compassion.

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  • 186. At 00:00am on 19 Mar 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    181 csgators
    "While those numbers need to inspected* to learn the real truth behind them if universal health was the debate rather than this streaming pile of excrement I just might support it."


    1) I can't be bothered to repost the stats with a link - it's been done so many times already over the past year.

    2) I agree that what is on offer is rubbish .... but I don't see a mass movement in support of universal healthcare .... perhaps you could start one.

    My recollection is that Obama clearly stated before the election that his primary goal was healthcare for all Americans. That this idea has been butchered into the current mess is more to do with the political system in the USA (and I blame both dems and reps).

    However at this point even what is on the table is a step in the right direction .... IF you actually care about the little people who have no grassroots movements and media time to spout their issues.

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  • 187. At 00:07am on 19 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    185. At 11:59pm on 18 Mar 2010, bepa wrote:

    "Usually statistically they are white protestant males..other statistical groups have more compassion."

    Wrong but irrelevant, I think it is you that lack compassion, you would rather the government do it than get your own hands dirty helping people. You would doom an entire class of people to dependence and servitude by rewarding destructive behavior and punishing those who work hard and follow the law.

    It's easy to cast accusations around, doesn't really help the debate though.

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  • 188. At 00:11am on 19 Mar 2010, Mike Smith wrote:

    It's fairly simple for me. I do not want money I earn to be taken and spent on providing abortions for those who cannot afford them. It is against my religious beliefs. I will sue this government, if I have to, to give me the same exemption that the Amish enjoy. Or move to any state - such as Idaho, who is preparing lawsuits against this terrible piece of legislation.

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  • 189. At 00:14am on 19 Mar 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    184 csgators
    The tragic story from the Daily Mail (which incidentally makes FOX look fairly impartial) is not an argument against socialised medicine. It is simply a report of professional misconduct now under investigation by the police.


    30 seconds on google finds me this

    "An average of 195,000 people in the USA died due to potentially preventable, in-hospital medical errors in each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002"
    source http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/11856.php

    KEY WORD is "in hospital".
    Doesn't make the current US system look so great does it ....


    Now let's look at the UK
    "Figures obtained in an answer to a parliamentary question asked by Conservative shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley showed 3,645 people died in English hospitals in 2007-2008"

    source http://www.nursingtimes.net/whats-new-in-nursing/nhs-hospital-patient-deaths-due-to-errors-up-60-in-england/1960339.article


    I know where I'd rather be. Although the NHS has its faults, it seems that alot of people in the USA are paying alot of money for insurance that buys them rather poor medical treatment.... and in the case of medicare patients, rather alot of taxpayers money is being spent on rather poor medical treatment for rather poor people.

    As I mentionned before - if you Tea Partiers can't get behind universal healthcare for compassionate or ethical reasons, at least see the economic reasons for it.

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  • 190. At 00:16am on 19 Mar 2010, hawaii guy wrote:

    Is it any wonder its this convoluted? One man will never change Washington, the house and the senate have spent years setting up alliances and protectionism and they will never give that up. There is absolutely no separation behind closed doors when it comes to elected officials. The only thing there is a guarantee of is everyone gets to eat from the pie. I applaud Obama for actually getting it this far, the problem is, once its in I have no hope they (politicians) will have a clue on how to implement it, let alone control it fiscally. WE have allowed the creation of a Methuselah Corporation with absolute L.L.C, through complacency and ignorance and it just keeps getting older and older. Without an actual revolution only the names will change, just like the original Sun God somehow morphed into an untouchable, unseen, unquestionable god... Pulpit plagiarism should die with their plagiarist's. I could go on but I'm going for a long mountain bike ride with my dog, smelling the flowers along the way, and watching the Sun God set over her child's warm blue ocean. All the while thanking her so she will continue to give us life, and comprehensive healthcare if we eat right, she requires a rider on surgeries, but thats cheap:) Long live veggies!

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  • 191. At 00:16am on 19 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    179.csgators:

    Yes, and that is a despicable and shocking instance of medical negligence.

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  • 192. At 00:22am on 19 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    To all the compassionate souls out there:

    What has the War of Poverty accomplished?
    More poverty.

    War on Drugs?
    More drug users.

    War on Terrorism?
    More terrorism.

    Conclusion: Wars are bad.

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  • 193. At 00:22am on 19 Mar 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 182, FrankMcG

    Most unemployed Americans are not lazy and are not asking for a handout, they simply need help until they can find a job...and there are not too many job opportunities available at the moment.

    Don't forget that President Obama got 53% of the vote, and that most of us support his policies, including healthcare reform. When conservatives say that the government is passing legislation that Americans don't want, please qualify the statement by inserting the word "conservative" in front of Americans.

    The rest of us approve of President Obama's performance and most of us plan to vote for him again in 2012...and for most of our representatives and senators in November.

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  • 194. At 00:28am on 19 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    181. csgators:

    I asked, 12 hours ago or thereabouts, what people who objected to "this streaming pile of excrement" as you call it, find so obnoxious about the proposals in the list Sam provided in 27.

    Well?

    (And if you or anyone else just says 'Yes, thankyou' to that, I shall start screaming.)

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  • 195. At 00:31am on 19 Mar 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 180. MariaTee:

    I think that the biggest problem is that Americans do not trust government agencies to be able to do anything right.

    After Enron, the corporate scandals of the Bush years, the Wall Street meltdown and what that revealed about the financial system, the meltdown of the auto industry, etc., etc, etc. I do not understand why the private sector is held up as a model. It seems to me that government has not done a spectacularly worse job than the private sector. So why all the distrust of government?

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  • 196. At 00:34am on 19 Mar 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 182. FrankMcG:

    Doesn't it bother any of you that the whole thing about healtcare is not constitutional. The US is not a democracy, it is a republic with rules and limitations on the authority of government. We are no longer being represented, we are being ruled by a bunch of self-serving pompous asses.

    Ah, where to start? Yes the healthcare legislation is constitutional. The federal government has not exceeded its authority. Those self-serving pompous asses were elected by the voters. So other than the voters, who's to blame for the mess, if you think there is a mess?

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  • 197. At 00:44am on 19 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    183. At 11:45pm on 18 Mar 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    Andypost & bepa .... re Eugenics

    Some surprising countries have practiced euthanasia in the past .... Sweden, Australia .... and, well...


    I have a horrible suspicion that female (never male AFAIK) so-called 'feeble-minded' patients were sterilised 'on medical grounds' around the first two or three decades of the 20th century in the UK, too, from my recollection of some old patient records I was once shown. But I don't think it was ever mandatory, and I couldn't say how widespread it was.

    However, I agree with the point that the 'Teabaggers' and many of their supporters not only seem to want to turn the clock back, they want to turn it back to some mythical paradaisical golden age when people lived sparsely populated rural idylls where they all joined together in altruistic self-help groups and lived happily ever after.

    Well, it never existed outside of fiction and film.

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  • 198. At 00:50am on 19 Mar 2010, ninetofivegrind wrote:

    It would be interesting if you could look forward 15-20 years and see how many Teabaggers have been forced into medical bankruptcy or are dieing of a pre existing condition because the insurance companies they are so vociferous in supporting have declined them cover.
    I believe universal health coverage is a basic human right.

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  • 199. At 00:53am on 19 Mar 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 157. csgators:

    I work for a few doctors and from what I have seen they see and treat EVERYONE regardless of their ability to pay, you would not believe the amount of money doctors write off every year as noncollectable.

    They don't write it off, they pass it on to their patients who do have health insurance. And that's the problem. By not having health insurance for everyone, people are treated at the most expensive point in the system and the costs are passed on to the rest of the population.

    And if doctors are so socially conscious, why is medical debt the leading cause of bankruptcy in the US?

    The average pay for the least well paid category of physician in the US is about four times what I make. And it's about three times what the average high school teacher makes. So they're not exactly hurting.

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  • 200. At 00:54am on 19 Mar 2010, FrankMcG wrote:

    #185 I have a great deal of compassion and percentage wise, I give more to charity than most of those in government (about 80% more) and dollar wise it is about 40%,however, I do make sure it is a worhty cause. I am 65 years old and am tired of having my pockets picked by a bunch of phonies, who seem to think they have done their bit by giving other peoples' money away. The more you take from government the less free you are! They foster dependency to keep their sorry asses in office and will continue to do so, as long as, people like you are naive enough to think they really give a damn.

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  • 201. At 00:54am on 19 Mar 2010, wolfvorkian wrote:

    Mardell,

    I'm disappointed with you. If you were back home in England, would you find it necessary to report what the local village idiots were ranting about? You know, your equivalents of Jim Heath, Linsy Heiner,etc? Probably not, so why do you do it here?

    A man with a guitar plays God Bless America, and others join in before chanting "USA, USA!" A recurrent theme at these events is that somehow these people's country has been captured from them.

    How rich. Ya know, when they opened the first Wal-Mart here in Fairbanks a few years ago... right before the doors opened the first day,they had a prayer meeting and sang "God Bless America". Can you believe that?

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  • 202. At 00:58am on 19 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    186. At 00:00am on 19 Mar 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    "I can't be bothered to repost the stats with a link - it's been done so many times already over the past year."

    Wouldn't make any difference if you did. Whether it's gun-related deaths, diptheria or meeces per household (total mice demised here, so far = 2, I'm glad to say) the response, if people don't like them, is always going to be 'ah, but we calculate them differently, so they're not comparable."

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  • 203. At 01:02am on 19 Mar 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 182. FrankMcG:

    ...the rest of us don't own you anything.

    Every successful person got where they are because somebody else helped them. It may have been their parents or a relative, it may have been a teacher or a religious leader, it may have been an employer who gave them a chance. It's up to the individual to make the best of the opportunities they have been given, but no one truly does it on their own. The rugged individualist has simply created their own myth of success and has forgotten the help they've received along the way. So in my view that means that everyone who has done well in life should take an attitude of humility and pay it forward by helping someone else. But that's not a popular view among the righties.

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  • 204. At 01:04am on 19 Mar 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 187. csgators:

    It's easy to cast accusations around...

    Isn't that what you're doing?

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  • 205. At 01:05am on 19 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    "The tragic story from the Daily Mail (which incidentally makes FOX look fairly impartial) is not an argument against socialised medicine. It is simply a report of professional misconduct now under investigation by the police."

    Right and the case that was first posted was of an insurance company that didn't pay out when it should and got sued and lost. I was not accusing NHS, I was saying tragedy happens in any system for many reasons. Everyone acts like the insurance companies violate their contracts every day with no consequence and it is not true. They get sued, they lose big money, end of story. Secondly, most operations and treatments of non-emergency nature get pre-approved to begin with. This is a joke, take one or two examples and extrapolate out into mass death and despair.

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  • 206. At 01:10am on 19 Mar 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 188. Mike Smith:

    It's fairly simple for me. I do not want money I earn to be taken and spent on providing abortions for those who cannot afford them.

    I think that many who are opposed to abortion (Catholic nuns, moderate but anti-abortion members of Congress) have agreed that this bill does not fund abortion. You've just been drinking the Kool Aid provided by the rabid opponents of Obama.

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  • 207. At 01:11am on 19 Mar 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    187. At 00:07am on 19 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    You would doom an entire class of people to dependence and servitude by rewarding destructive behavior and punishing those who work hard and follow the law.

    Yes, it is better to work three jobs and still not be able to afford health insurance, and die a slow tortured death from a preventable disease you might have survived if only it had been caught early, than to become a "victim" of the nanny state while working one job, affording insurance and living to support your children. Whew! I know all those hard working waitresses in road side diners and gas station attendants, not to mention most WalMart employees, are grateful to you for thinking of them and bucking up their moral fortitude with your words of wisdom from on high. You're a real prince, csgators. My moral fiber feels stronger already.

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  • 208. At 01:16am on 19 Mar 2010, bepa wrote:

    #187 csgators

    Statistics should not be applied to individuals.. but imo it is the white protestant males who are most resistant to giving social services ...whether you as an individual are a white protestant male or not..

    Personally I think the way to help people is through education..perhaps paying money for doing well in the educational system..and offering scholarships might be a way to improve people's lives. So I particularly like the junior colleges. But starting out with good health is critical for anyone.. American children should receive excellent health care no matter who they have for parents.


    On my own I have done things to help others..but there is no way that I can do what the government can to help large numbers of people.

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  • 209. At 01:17am on 19 Mar 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 192. At 00:22am on 19 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    To all the compassionate souls out there:

    What has the War of Poverty accomplished?
    More poverty.

    War on Drugs?
    More drug users.

    War on Terrorism?
    More terrorism.


    There's a whole lot of fuzzy thinking in this one. What does the war on drugs or the war on terrorism have to do with compassion? And both of those were products of Republican administrations.

    And about the War on Poverty--from Wikipedia:

    In the decade following the 1964 introduction of the war on poverty, poverty rates in the U.S. dropped to their lowest level to date: 11.1% . They have remained between 11 and 15.2% ever since. Since 1973 poverty has remained well below the historical U.S. averages in the range of 20-25%.

    So the War on Poverty didn't create more poverty, it reduced poverty. You know, you can't just make stuff up. You actually have to support your inflammatory statements if you want people to accept them.

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  • 210. At 01:19am on 19 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    194. At 00:28am on 19 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    "181. csgators:

    I asked, 12 hours ago or thereabouts, what people who objected to "this streaming pile of excrement" as you call it, find so obnoxious about the proposals in the list Sam provided in 27."

    I actually replied to your original post in the other thread, the numbers do not shock me. Many people believe that this bill will simply waste more money and not address the real problems. I tend to agree but also seem to fall into some of the less popular categories and have reasons that are not listed. These polls are misleading and frankly most people have no idea what’s going on, including those in congress.

    Now we come to the infamous tea parties. A true grassroots uprising whatever people say. Maybe some of it is funded by the GOP or corporations, whatever, these people don't know or care, they are just upset and are using their days off to show their displeasure. Some people show up with radical ideas and people try to paint the whole movement in that light. I have never been to a tea party and don't associate with them but I do not hate them or dismiss them. All the heckling has actually made me feel like defending them. I have respect for all such groups on both sides. We all know the two parties we have now don't work.

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  • 211. At 01:29am on 19 Mar 2010, jimjoy wrote:

    Let me put it this way:

    If I had a choice of taking 40% of my income and giving it to the US government or a corporation to pool money and provide me with services, I would choose the corporation. I trust that if they have competition and can turn a profit they will do better for me than our inefficient, corrupt, bloated, US governmental bureaucracy.

    Hence I oppose any expansion of government’s role in healthcare.

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  • 212. At 01:35am on 19 Mar 2010, ninetofivegrind wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 213. At 01:53am on 19 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    186. At 00:00am on 19 Mar 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    "I can't be bothered to repost the stats with a link - it's been done so many times already over the past year."

    Strange because I didn't post links for the same reason. I hadn't seen any links disputing what I posted.

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  • 214. At 02:04am on 19 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    Mark wrote about the 'faultlines in American politics. Well, yet again, we can see this gaping and apparently unbridgeable chasm opened up between, not the right and left, but the right and centre.

    It seems that a large proportion of Americans want to support a new kind of democratic principle. That on any issue if anyone can organise a number of very vociferous citizens, then proposals or legislation made by a body and a president elected by a free vote, should be abandoned or overturned without one. I refer to a 'free vote' rather than a 'democratic' one, because somehow it has become right-wing orthodoxy to say the US is not a 'democracy', it's simply a 'republic'. Not a distinction that makes any sense to me, but there we are.

    Now this has all kinds of implications. In future, what else cannot be overturned in this way? Why should, therefore, an elected Congress ever enact any legislation as it grows to fear loud demonstrations, and apparently dare not stand up in front of its own electorate as a whole at an election?

    Why should any country negotiate any treaty, any agreement, except the simplest and most uncontroversial, with the USA? (Britain has one and the reciprocal American half of it has still not been ratified by Congress as it is, without a few thousand angry voices ever demonstrating against it.) The Nuclear Arms Reduction Treaty between the USA and Russia will shortly be ready for signature, perhaps by the end of this month.

    That will, as I understand it, have to be ratified by Congress. Suppose there is vociferous opposition and demonstrations that make some Congressmen fear for their electoral prospects (and I can see there will be)? It won't be ratified, or there will be such a long-drawn out fuss and argy-bargy events will have overtaken it by the time it is.

    All this must be giving other countries around the world pause. If an American government can chop and change according to the transient whim of any shouting group, there can be no consistency.

    We've already seen this process of disengagement beginning, I think, with the South American countries forming an economic and political alternative to the OAS, and a similar process has been gathering speed among the ASEAN countries.

    I don't think that's coincidence.

    Perhaps the Tea Party will (as these incoherent and uncohesive movements often do) will fade away in a month or two. But no doubt it will be replaced by another mob angry about something else. I've suggested before, that if carried through to its logical end, that end will be the first true Anarchical State ever.

    That really is what a number of people are actually proposing in these debates, though they are very shy of the word and write about 'individual freedom' or 'states rights'. In a way, I hope Anarchy (note the capital letter) does result; I'd really like to see how (or if) it would work in practice.

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  • 215. At 02:05am on 19 Mar 2010, rodidog wrote:

    189 RomeStu,

    Now let's look at the UK
    "Figures obtained in an answer to a parliamentary question asked by Conservative shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley showed 3,645 people died in English hospitals in 2007-2008"

    That's an interesting statistic. I do have a question for you though. According to ONS, mortality rates due to various health related deaths (heart disease, cancer...) over 500,000 deaths occurred in both 2007 and 2008 in the UK. Were 99% of those folks simply sent home to die? Just asking.

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  • 216. At 02:14am on 19 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    196. At 00:34am on 19 Mar 2010, tim wrote:

    re. 182. FrankMcG:
    Doesn't it bother any of you that the whole thing about healtcare is not constitutional.

    Ah, where to start? Yes the healthcare legislation is constitutional.


    When I did American History at school, I was led to believe that all legislation enacted by Congress was constitutional unless and until the Supreme Court declared it otherwise.

    Has the American Constitution changed since? Or a group of the Tea Party become the Constitutional Court of the USA? Since when has any legislation been unequivocally declared 'unconstitutional' in advance? Or its unconstitutionality been decided by a part of the electorate?

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  • 217. At 02:22am on 19 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    201. At 00:54am on 19 Mar 2010, wolfvorkian wrote:

    "Ya know, when they opened the first Wal-Mart here in Fairbanks a few years ago... right before the doors opened the first day,they had a prayer meeting and sang "God Bless America". Can you believe that?"

    Not sure whether I can or not, myself. But if, a few years ago, they'd opened the new Sainsbury's on Ladbroke Grove with a prayer meeting and a mass rendition of 'Rule Britannia' I'm pretty sure it would have made the main news that night.

    (I think they just opened the doors about 8.30 am.)

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  • 218. At 02:26am on 19 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    204. At 01:04am on 19 Mar 2010, tim wrote:

    Yes...at least you got the point then I guess.

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  • 219. At 02:45am on 19 Mar 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    It must seem strange to a foreigner that in the United States the process by which government operates including the passage of legislation is as important as the substance of the legislation itself. This would be especially true for someone coming from a place like Britain where their process is opaque and the Prime Minister can approve a treatly like Lisbon by fiat without even consulting his rubber stamp Parliament let alone holding a debate the public can watch.

    The lack of transparency coupled with the machinations to pass this bill that will affect one sixth of the entire US economy with backroom deals has cost it legitimacy no matter what it says. Legitimacy can only come when the law is seen to reflect the will of the people as expressed by an open vote of their representatives after a reasonable time to reflect on the substance of the legislation, amend it if necessary, and openly debate it. That has not happened here and many Americans are very angry about it.

    It isn't clear if this creation will be successfully railroaded through the House but if it is, this is far from a dead issue for many of us.
    Some of those who vote for it will pay a heavy price for it in November when their seats come up for re-election. Their circumventing of our democracy to achieve their ends will get them thrown out. This is not Britain.

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  • 220. At 02:56am on 19 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    210. csgators:

    You still haven't replied about what you think is so bad about the elements of reform Sam listed in Post No 27--bearing in mind the 'public option' and 'exchange' have, I think been abandoned anyway--any more than others have.

    Are you against insurance covering pre-existing conditions, for example?
    Or requiring most employers to provide coverage for their workers?
    Or repeal of insurance companies' exemption from anti-trust laws?

    You just write you "have reasons that are not listed" in the Gallup poll (which, of course, since apparently it doesn't suit you, you don't trust). There's nothing 'misleading' about that poll that I can see.

    And the report I quoted was not just about one person who sued and won as you so glibly put it. It was about a consistent and deliberate policyapplied by a big health insurance provider to cancel coverage for people who would require expensive treatment. The CEO of which admitted would not happen if this health reform bill was passed.

    Are you against that?

    After all, it might be you, next time. The company concerned after all was found by the court to have deliberately avoided recording its decisions, and 'losing' records and documents. So you might never be able to contradict them. Or get the evidence on which to sue them. Or have enough money to.

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  • 221. At 03:02am on 19 Mar 2010, johnzebut wrote:

    jimjoy wrote:

    "Let me put it this way:

    If I had a choice of taking 40% of my income and giving it to the US government or a corporation to pool money and provide me with services, I would choose the corporation. I trust that if they have competition and can turn a profit they will do better for me than our inefficient, corrupt, bloated, US governmental bureaucracy.

    Hence I oppose any expansion of government’s role in healthcare."

    1) Where on earth do you get the figure of 40% of you income?
    2) What competition?
    The corporations are screwing the country. Government of the people for the corporations by the corporations. Wake up!

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  • 222. At 03:15am on 19 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    215. At 02:05am on 19 Mar 2010, rodidog wrote:

    "Were 99% of those folks simply sent home to die?"

    No. I don't know why we post links if nobody reads them. That 3,645 is:

    "The number of patients who have died in hospital as a result of incidents including medical errors and healthcare-acquired infections. . .Of these, 309 died as a result of an infection control incident, 171 in an accident, 22 as a result of abuse by hospital staff or third parties, and 14 as a result of mix-ups with forms and patient records. Fifty-four died as a result of a medication error and 385 as a result of a treatment or procedure."

    I can't tell you the figures, but some people with terminal conditions ask to die at home or in a hospice. I think most, if it is going to be somewhat protracted, choose the latter. I've known both; it depends largely in my experience, whether there is someone able and capable of caring for them at home.

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  • 223. At 03:23am on 19 Mar 2010, Andy wrote:

    RE: 194..

    The points from #27 with my rebuttals to most in parenthesis. I'm not even touching the abortion issue, gay rights, or the Indian issue which are just politics in action--someone getting their pet project tacked on to secure their support.

    # prohibiting health insurers from refusing coverage based on patients' medical histories (How is an insurance company suppose to make a profit if it HAS to insure people that will cost the company more than it brings in in premiums. They are not a federal government, they cannot run deficits indefinitely without going bankrupt)

    # prohibiting health insurers from charging different rates based on patients' medical histories or gender (again, same as before, different individuals will cost the company more. If you have multiple car accidents and speeding tickets do you-or should you-pay the same for your auto insurance as someone with a clean driving record. If you are more likely to cause the company to have to pay for significant treatment, then they need to collect more from you)

    # repeal of insurance companies' exemption from anti-trust laws
    (I could make an argument for or against this--depends if they are going to function as a utility, and be regulated. But if you are going to mandate everything in the bill, well they should be exempt because they will essentially become like a power company: inefficient, overly regulated, and allowed to monopolize based on the belief that they enjoy scales of economies).

    # establishing minimum standards for qualified health benefit plans (This has to do with mandating coverage, and if you have to have coverage, then you have to have minimum standards, nothing to argue.)

    # requiring most employers to provide coverage for their workers or pay a surtax on the worker's wages up to 8% (interestingly, if you look at the CBO estimate, that 8% tax is an attempt at a stick for the employers. The carrot is the small business tax credit. Somewhere after 2015, the stick is estimated to pay for the carrot. Employers giving health insurance is a benefit that results in a reduced paid salary. In short, the insurance is valued more than the additional salary by the individual, and the cost of the plan less the tax credit is LESS than that additional salary that the employer would have to pay. So is mandating insurance on the employer right if the cost of that insurance is enough to make them go bankrupt and costing people their jobs?)

    # restrictions on abortion coverage in any insurance plans for which federal funds are used (whatever)


    # an expansion of Medicaid to include more low-income Americans by increasing Medicaid eligibility limits to 150% of the Federal Poverty Level and by covering adults without dependents as long as either or any segment doesn't fall under the narrow exceptions outlined by various clauses throughout the proposal. (The federal government only pays 50% of medicaid, the states pay the other half. The states are already strapped for cash, can't run a deficit, and therefore will have to cut something else if all of a sudden there is a large increase in medicaid. Maybe they can cut education a little further.)

    # a subsidy to low- and middle-income Americans to help buy insurance (this spending actually outpaces the spending on the additional Medicaid. I'm not sure the purpose of this if the same bill increases Medicaid (low income) and mandates insurance from employers. If those employers aren't providing it, then those employees should be making more than similarly skilled workers and able to purchase it if they can find a way to live within their means. Again, since the legislation doesn't allow insurance companies to price discriminate, than it can't be because they couldn't afford the extra premiums--the majority of the payouts for this come in/after 2014. so essentially, this is a transfer payment from the wealthy who work, pay taxes, and live within their means to those who may work, may pay taxes, and cannot live within their means)


    # a central health insurance exchange where the public can compare policies and rates (ok)


    # a government-run insurance plan (public option); according to some analyses, the plan would be prohibited from covering abortions (there are a few paths that this could go through: 1) it will be like TRICare or Medicare-most doctors don't want to accept it because the payouts are lower than their costs and add to that, both face annual "efficiency" reductions that congress has to postpone in order to keep them running. If they don't, then they'll have their budgets slashed by around 20% and increasing every year; OR 2) it puts insurance companies out of business because it is terribly inefficient but since it is run by the federal government, it doesn't have to be profitable or paid for.)


    # requiring most Americans to carry or obtain qualifying health insurance coverage or possibly face a surtax for non-compliance. (So how is the government going to determine who does not have insurance--require proof when updating a national identification card? when an individual (possibly) pays their taxes? If you don't have insurance and don't pay taxes, is it non-compliance. we can't even get all drivers to carry auto insurance; who is going to pay this Uninsured Patient Tax? I do however agree with the principle of requiring everyone to have some sort of medical insurance OR savings)

    # a 5.4% surtax on individuals whose adjusted gross income exceeds $500,000 ($1 million for married couples filing joint returns)--(realize that these highest earners are also the ones already paying the majority of the taxes. This is just an attempt to cover some of the costs by taxing a small portion of the population that is overwhelming opposed to this legislation).

    # a 2.5% excise tax on medical devices (charge a higher tax on equipment that our highly technologically reliant medical field is reliant upon--which means that it will contribute to increasing health costs OR if the company has to eat that cost, that cuts into their profits and makes them less likely to keep inventing and manufacturing these devices we are so reliant upon.)

    # reductions in projected spending on Medicare of $400 billion over a ten-year period (this is how the government intends to create a net deficit reduction from this bill. So sure, go ahead and cut spending. See above about the delayed efficiency reductions in Medicare payments. In actuality, congress will probably reverse these cuts in political face savings ESPECIALLY if the bill does nothing to actually reduce the cost of health care because there is no way either party would survive if they actually supported cutting benefits to the retired).


    # inclusion of language originally proposed in the Tax Equity for Domestic Partner and Health Plan Beneficiaries Act (whatever)

    # inclusion of language originally proposed in the Indian Health Care Improvement Act Amendments of 2009. (whatever)

    # imposing a $2,500 limit on contributions to flexible spending accounts (FSAs), which allow for payment of health costs with pre-tax funds, to pay for a portion of health care reform costs. (A FSA is an individual attempting to control their health care costs by making sure that they are buying only the care they need. Most studies have shown that use of FSAs REDUCE employer health care costs even when they include a catastrophic care insurance plan. Personal responsibility like this would also force doctors to compete on price, holding down costs for everyone. So why cap FSAs...because that would be a loss in tax revenue since most people carry $3k plus in them depending on how much they use a doctor and where they live--because geography matters. Funny, an individual without health insurance who would try to limit their spending on health care would be limited to a $2500 tax deduction (note that is a deduction, NOT a credit), OR they could take the estimated $5,000+ subsidy from the government. What does that say about congress real intention to control health care costs and reduce the deficit? What does it say about the individuals who this bill is targeting?)

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  • 224. At 03:35am on 19 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:


    "Are you against insurance covering pre-existing conditions, for example?"

    How? Do you mean can I not have insurance, wait until I get cancer and then expect to get coverage for that cancer? No. That is why it is tied to required coverage and I do have a problem with the government forcing me to by a product from a private company.

    "Or requiring most employers to provide coverage for their workers?"

    Yes, it is the silly law that makes health insurance through employment tax free. Thus the smaller the company is the harder it is to get (small pool). It also makes it more expensive to get insurance if you don't have a corporate job, talk about corporate advantage and influence.

    "Or repeal of insurance companies' exemption from anti-trust laws?"

    If this is even true it is allowed because they can't compete across state lines and they are violating anti-trust laws due to regulations.

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  • 225. At 03:41am on 19 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    Well I guess Andy spent a little more time on his reply...nice post.

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  • 226. At 03:51am on 19 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    224. At 03:35am on 19 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    "I do have a problem with the government forcing me to by a product from a private company."

    But if you have health insurance, you're already buying a product from a private company. If you have a car, aren't you 'forced' to 'buy a product from a private company'?

    And no, of course it doesn't mean you can opt out of being insured until you get ill any more than you can now. That is foolishly disingenuous.

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  • 227. At 04:06am on 19 Mar 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    214. At 02:04am on 19 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    It seems that a large proportion of Americans want to support a new kind of democratic principle. That on any issue if anyone can organise a number of very vociferous citizens, then proposals or legislation made by a body and a president elected by a free vote, should be abandoned or overturned without one. I refer to a 'free vote' rather than a 'democratic' one, because somehow it has become right-wing orthodoxy to say the US is not a 'democracy', it's simply a 'republic'. Not a distinction that makes any sense to me, but there we are.

    The whole "republic not democracy" thing is just a talking point created by the Republicans and parroted on right wing programs. It's meaningless noise spouted by people who are clueless as to what that means. Which is essentially: Nothing. We have elected officials whom we vote for and send to do the business of the nation in our names and they get to decide what's in our best interest. If we don't like what they do, we vote them out of office and send someone else. There are no national referendums, other than the Presidential Election. And since Obama was elected, and the issue of moving forward on health care was decided, the rest is just sour grapes by the losers who can't seem to grasp that they are supposed to be a loyal opposition. Not a threatening, deranged, hysterical one.

    And no, the constitution has not changed. They can shout states rights all they want and claim they'll sue the government, but in the end federal law always trumps state law. There have been any number of cases where states have sued the federal government seeking to overturn laws they felt violated their states rights. No case has ever been successful. And none ever will be.

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  • 228. At 04:25am on 19 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    227. Gavrielle_LaPoste:

    Well, that's what I thought. Only there seem to be an awful lot of 'losers' who seem to think differently.

    [Squirrel retires to dream of cabbages and kings. Better political system all round. Probably.]

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  • 229. At 04:53am on 19 Mar 2010, wcorey wrote:

    It's too bad the BBC website has refused to clearly mention that the much-touted CBS report that the Democrats are referring to as evidence of the cost savings of their legislation is, in fact, a clearly-stated preliminary report.

    One would like to think the BBC would like to be objective and understands that preliminary CBO reports can change significantly after all the information has been analyzed. Apparently, the BBC either doesn't know this or doesn't care about being objective.

    But, Mark's piece is a good summary of the health care debate in the U.S. Nobody has a monopoly on the truth, but the essential point is that the "reform" will cost taxpayers a lot more money than the liberals are saying. The original Medicare legislation also drastically understated future costs.

    But, Mark's piece is a good account

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  • 230. At 05:35am on 19 Mar 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    228. At 04:25am on 19 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    Well, that's what I thought. Only there seem to be an awful lot of 'losers' who seem to think differently.

    Not as many as the media makes it out to be. Remember, they are the ringmasters for this circus and get to decide which act gets to be in the center ring. As we all know, freak shows sell tickets.

    [Squirrel retires to dream of cabbages and kings. Better political system all round. Probably.

    Rest well. I am to my bed shortly. My fuzzband, Dolce, is insisting. (Yes, I have an Italian Gangsta cat. He's big, handsome, hisses his toughness every chance he gets, but is soft, gentle and loving underneath his rough macho exterior. Very Italian. Reminds me of my ex - up to and including putting his feet on the coffee table and stealing/sitting on the remote!)

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  • 231. At 06:41am on 19 Mar 2010, shiveringofforgottenenemies wrote:

    What Obama is moving toward is legislation without accountability. Health Care Reform is the tip of the iceberg, but it provides a very important ingredient, it is MANDATORY. Essentially everyone in the nation will be required to have some sort of health card, and they will eagerly sign their children up as well. This creates a huge data base, much better than social security.

    I'm not talking about some huge conspiracy theory, but once you establish a data base like this, that can be tracked, you can justify all kinds of legislation and appropriations based on having, say 67,287 low income families in for instance Cleveland, served by only 10 area hospitals with beds for 20,000 patients...appropriations and social programs will be allocated "by the numbers", if such a database were established. It will not have the onus of being done under Homeland Security (GESTAPO), but effectively will contain all the racial, marital, sexual preferences and other information relevant to health care. This will be used to transform the way America is governed, and it is the reason why Health Care Reform (so-called) is such a key element of the overall strategy.

    America is not facing European-style socialism. European socialism has it's roots in the devastation of WW I and the depravation of WW II...what we are witnessing is the birth of a new and AMERICAN form of tyranny. A system in which the government will never have to take responsibility for its actions where decisions, however bad the outcome are supported by "data" crunched out by those thousands of consultant "think tanks"...because CLEARLY our legislators cannot think, cannot draft legislation, can only follow the recommendations of consultants and pressure groups.

    Health Care Reform must be stopped, and indeed Obama and the Democrats must be stopped.

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  • 232. At 08:50am on 19 Mar 2010, myviewsonbbc wrote:

    About U.S. Health-Care Reforms:

    I have been keenly following the healthcare reforms in USA. What the beloved President Barack Obama is trying to implement for reforming the whole healthcare system in USA is remarkable. The reason for my point of view is:
    1. The drug-products shouldn't be so costly in the first place.
    2. The dependence of doctors on diagnostic tests for even small ailments entails huge costs - which is indirectly promoted and under pressure for the sake of insurance - as doctors should try to inculcate the habit of increasing their diagnostic ability through differential diagnosis and very minimal dependence of diagnostic tests which can reduce the insurance cost a great deal and could translate into good savings by people of USA.
    3. Most of the drugs prescribed by the doctors are obligatory drugs prescribed due to pressure from Pharmaceutical companies, I think, as there exists an unhealthy competition amongst the Companies for healthy bottom-lines and shareholder value. Despite the fact that the companies resort to unhealthy competition and make some unhealthy trends with the medical profession, doctors shouldn't yield for petty gains from Pharmaceutical Companies.
    4. The pharmacist fee should be waived off. As this has a huge impact on the cost of the drug, if it is waived off, the drug products can really be reduced in cost to the patient thereby the insurance costs can be brought down drastically which will result in reduced premiums and thereby affordability by even common man.
    5. The R&D is a grey area. The tax credits on R&D should be removed as the pharmaceutical companies will make huge profits if the research pays off. In the recent past, most R&D did not yield expected results, by far, so as to enable the continuation of this costly feature in these tough economic times.
    6. The patient community also should be diligent in not visiting for most of the ailments which doesnot require the expert advice from a doctor such as a simple pain, or cold. You might argue that a simple pain may be Cardiac related and cold may be a deadly flu. I am not saying that you should not visit a doctor when you have a grave situation, but 90 times out of 100, the pain is only a simple pain which doesnot entail a doctor visit for which patients have visited doctor wasting this valuable resource.

    The foregoing account gives some measures, and there are so many good measures which would be coming forth-with the reforms proposed by Hon'ble President Barack Obama in his health-care reform bill, as this is the time to curb all the flab from the health-care industry, as the girth of the whole health-care system has acquired secondary thickening in an anomalous manner due to layering of the system by vested interests.

    I am pretty confident, that this bill will pass successfully, in the good interest of all American people for the benefit of USA in the long-term to come. Unless the healthcare reforms are taken up now, there will be bankruptcy due to heathcare problem.

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  • 233. At 08:54am on 19 Mar 2010, Reuben wrote:

    Democrats are drunk on their own power, they forgotten who elected them.

    Obama and his cronies in Congress were swept into power by the anger the public felt towards Bush and his neo-cons. That was not a mandate for Socialized medicine. If there was any popular support for any issue brough up in his campaign, it was to get the US military out of Iraq.

    Obama-care is loosing support in the House is because many are paying attention to what is being said in their home districts and they are worried they may loose their seats.

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  • 234. At 09:00am on 19 Mar 2010, Reuben wrote:

    The health care system in America needs reform, but the reforms that are needed are not in this bill, only a lot of grabage we don't want or need.

    The biggest irony about legislation in America is that if you oppose bad law with a nice title, you appear to be against the issue in that title.

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  • 235. At 09:27am on 19 Mar 2010, Reuben wrote:

    Problems with healthcare that are not addressed by Obama care:
    1. pharmecutical companies developing and selling drugs that are not needed and are actually more harmful than helpful.
    2. Undue influence by Pharmecutical companies on the FDA, pushing through drugs that never should have been approved (like the H1N1 vacine), and opposing natural (less harmful) remedies.
    3. Undue influence of the pharmecutical companies on medical profesionals, causing doctors who should be physicians concerned with health, to become little better than illegal drug dealers on the street.
    4. there's alot more but I'm running out of time.

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  • 236. At 09:36am on 19 Mar 2010, steve58 wrote:

    On the statue of liberty it says.Give us your poor.Your tired.Your huddled masses longing to be free.But what it does not say.And we shall let them die through lack of basic medical care.How can you charge some one 60,000 dollars to reattach their finger.

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  • 237. At 11:21am on 19 Mar 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #201

    you mean like the members of code Pink, Move on org or the Daily kos followers?

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  • 238. At 11:37am on 19 Mar 2010, Andy wrote:

    RE: 232

    1. Yes, of the medical industry, drug companies have some of the highest profit margin on average; however, that does not mean that they individually have a high margin every year. Drug companies rely on a couple of drugs (cash cows) to keep the company functioning through the development and multi-year approval process. Essentially, if you want drug costs to go down the logical solution would be to make it easier to get a drug approved than the current system thereby reducing the need to allow patents to last as long as they do, which would reduce the cost of the drug. No one in the FDA will do this because they rather lose out on approving several helpful drugs quick than letting one bad drug through. What is the root cause of the high cost of drugs?

    2. Most of the doctors in the US are MD which is...wait for it...a doctor of medicine. The implication is that their entire treatment centers on the use of medicine. You want to reduce the use of drug prescriptions, train doctors in other methods. Start with DOs as an alternative. They can still prescribe medications and are more focused on fixing the root cause of an ailment vice treating symptoms (which is what most drugs do).

    3. Patients will not be more responsible for their own health if they all have health insurance. The flaw of this bill is that it reinforces the behavior that contributes to one of the causes of the problem: too many people going to the doctor for things that they shouldn't. I have yet to hear anyone in Washington lobbying for this bill that would say we will make you pay for going to the doctor for something that you shouldn't such as minor pain or a cold. Until you change Americans' entire perceptions on health (that is how to maintain their personal health as well as how they use health care), then the system will continue to have trouble.

    4. R&D: I should have probably covered more of this with the first point. If you cut the tax credit to cut back R&D because of tough times you do several negative things: 1) stop the development and potential development in new drugs, 2) contribute to increased unemployment when the entire R&D staff has to be let go. There is no way to say how much R&D is good from the start. It has never been considered successful on a percentage basis, BUT it is what leads to revolutionary developments that would otherwise not happen. That is the exact reason that R&D has to be expensed annually vice being accumulated as an asset for the company. Interestingly, the companies with the biggest profit margins do not do R&D. How? They buy patents or entire companies that do the R&D and then profit off of the newest successful drug that someone else developed. So, when you see those high corporate margins for drugs, many of them did not do the R&D process--they just push the drug through trials.

    SO how much of this is in the health care bill? Well it does nothing to reduce America's over reliance on medicine, nor does it do anything to stream line the drug approval process or shorten patent times in an attempt to reduce the cost of drugs (can't do the later without the former or there is no incentive for the drug companies to keep doing the development), it does nothing to change America's personal health.

    It does mandate insurance and subsidize a large portion of it AND "pays" for it with increased taxes, passing costs to the State governments, and cutting Medicare costs.

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  • 239. At 12:58pm on 19 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    SD wrote about close to 40% of US 'taxpayers' not paying any taxes:


    "What is an outrage is not that the lowest quintile of our population does not pay federal taxes, but the number of people living at or below the poverty line in the self-prescribed richest country in the world."





    I whish that was true, but the fact of the matter is that U.S. is NOT the richest country in the world.

    [Perhaps @ 20 millions of illegal aliens have something to do with it]


    Btw. check complains about Switzerland's record as far as violations of human rights are concerned.

    And no, I'm no alluding to an arrest of a famous director of "Repulsion", "Rosemary's Baby" "Chinatown", "Pianist" and "Ghostwriter" who came to Zurich to receive an award for a totality of his work.

    Oh, hypocrisy, or demagogy!

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  • 240. At 1:09pm on 19 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 241. At 1:28pm on 19 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "How can you charge some one 60,000 dollars to reattach their finger."







    "Yes' we can!"

    If it's a middle finger.

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  • 242. At 1:29pm on 19 Mar 2010, RomeStu wrote:

    215. rodidog wrote:
    "189 RomeStu,
    Now let's look at the UK
    "Figures obtained in an answer to a parliamentary question asked by Conservative shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley showed 3,645 people died in English hospitals in 2007-2008"

    That's an interesting statistic. I do have a question for you though. According to ONS, mortality rates due to various health related deaths (heart disease, cancer...) over 500,000 deaths occurred in both 2007 and 2008 in the UK. Were 99% of those folks simply sent home to die? Just asking.

    ___________________________________________

    Erm. Did you read the post .... it was about deaths in hospital due to MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE not total deaths in hospital. I didn't realise the level of comprehension was so low. The quote you take issue with above was just a snippet from an article (which I sourced) called

    http://www.nursingtimes.net/whats-new-in-nursing/nhs-hospital-patient-deaths-due-to-errors-up-60-in-england/1960339.article.

    The clue was in the words "DEATHS DUE TO ERRORS" and of course the rest of my post.

    Try not to be so simple (or obtuse)

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  • 243. At 1:49pm on 19 Mar 2010, MariaTee wrote:

    #195 tim:
    "After Enron, . . . It seems to me that government has not done a spectacularly worse job than the private sector. So why all the distrust of government?"

    Most of the private companies do not have a monopoly and you can go elsewhere if you wish. You are stuck with the government you got. The way medical insurance companies behave has become very similar to a monopoly, since individuals have little choice and they all do the same things, but distrust of government is so entrenched that most people don't think about that.

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  • 244. At 1:58pm on 19 Mar 2010, FrankMcG wrote:

    Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed sheep contesting the vote. ... Benjamin Franklin

    And that is why we have a Republic and not a Democracy. Majority rule is not the foundation of a Republic.

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  • 245. At 2:05pm on 19 Mar 2010, Mike Smith wrote:

    Well, I've been accused of drinking the Kool-Aid because I stated, quite truthfully, that this bill funds abortions. It does. But after reading a whole lot of these posts, I see that reason will not sway a point of view that says everyone should help everyone else all the time -one guy said no one ever does it by himself therefore he owes anyone else any help they want. That doesn't work. They have tried in the former USSR. Anyway, I will leave this Mr Mardell to you guys who want to tell each other how great this world would be if everyone just listen to you. Buh Bye!

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  • 246. At 2:32pm on 19 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Can one still advise some posters using 'tebaggers' term in reference to Tea Party supporters to look of what a "teabagger" actually means?

    And wonder whether a usage of such term does not constitute a violation of the BBC rules?

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  • 247. At 3:35pm on 19 Mar 2010, GeoffWard wrote:

    Thank you, Andy, for your contributions. And thank you to the one or two questions-posers that stimulated his postings.
    It makes a pleasant change to have 'professional'(?), detailed, thought-out postings that go to the heart of the issue.

    A Have Your Say posting of 230 (and still counting) that was worth following from beginning to end; not least because it gave unappreciated insight into the psyche of the US posting community and the polarised points of view they expressed.

    Good one!

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  • 248. At 3:58pm on 19 Mar 2010, timohio wrote:

    re. 211. jimjoy:

    I trust that if they have competition and can turn a profit they will do better for me than our inefficient, corrupt, bloated, US governmental bureaucracy.

    "inefficient, corrupt, bloated, US governmental bureaucracy" is one of those phrases that conservatives throw out assuming that it is self-evident and doesn't need to be demonstrated or corroborated. And it never seems to get challenged.

    First: I do not understand the reflexive hostility to the government. You do realize, don't you, that the government bureaucracy isn't a foreign army of occupation? It's us. It's your friends and neighbors who go into work every day and try to do a decent job, just like their counterparts in the private sector. And it's not all in Washington. Open your phone book and look at the listings for US government. The offices are in your town. It's everything from the post office to the Social Security Administration to the FBI. And frankly, no one goes into government service to get rich. They retire from government service and become consultants and lobbyists and then they get rich. Most of the people in government could make more money in the private sector, and that includes the president, senators, and congressmen. Part of the reason why there are so many rich people in the House and Senate is that you have to be wealthy in order to afford being in the House or Senate.

    Second: Most of the federal budget goes to a few so-called entitlement programs, chiefly things like Medicare and Social Security. Those costs have grown not because the bureaucracy has become bloated but because the population is aging and more people are collecting benefits. I'm a baby boomer and I know that the only way we are going to rein in those costs is to cut benefits. But if as a politician you suggest that publicly you will drawn and quartered. Basically people want the benefits of government but don't want to pay for them.

    Third: For the last 30 years we have had mostly Republican administrations. If you think the bureaucracy is bloated, they have to come in for more of the blame than the Democrats.

    Fourth: Whenever there has been a scandal like food safety or auto safety or the IRS not going after tax cheats and there are congressional hearings, it turns out that part of the problem is that the agency charged with oversight or inspection is understaffed. The government isn't bloated, it's starved for what we expect it to do. And if you ask people what the government should stop doing in order to reduce the budget, they always point to something that will impact on somebody else, not on them.

    Fifth: What makes you think that the private sector is efficient? My experience has been that the larger the company, the more inefficient the operation. That's not because of corruption, it's just an effect of size. A small start-up runs efficiently because everyone can see the impact of their work and their decisions on the success of the company.

    Sixth: Do you realize that the much-scorned Medicare system has done a better job of holding down health care costs than private insurance?

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  • 249. At 4:12pm on 19 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 133, csgators:

    "You want to swap SS for universal health? In retrospect I would agree however the consequences of breaking the promise we already have would be far more devastating to our population then the benefits we would gain. Too late to take SS away without phasing it out/privatizing it. I fully support the gradual privatization of SS, but it is political suicide to even suggest a change the program of any kind."

    Social Security certainly needs to be monitored, don't get me wrong, but as far as relative urgency, rising health care costs are the more immediate threat. I don't think we have the time to waste. We have to enact something and then fix whatever brokeness we come across later.

    It's our own fault. The People shirked their responsibility to provide care and feeding to the country. Now, we must do something to save it. We can't wait.

    I'm not enjoying this, either.

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  • 250. At 4:20pm on 19 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 171, RomeStu:

    That was arclightt.

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  • 251. At 4:23pm on 19 Mar 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 171, RomeStu:

    "Now lets look at the total number of murders with guns in the USA during that 51 year period ....."

    Heck, 22,000 kids gunned down on the streets of America since '03! Who needs go back 51 years?

    It's not unrest, though, which is what we were debating.


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  • 252. At 5:10pm on 19 Mar 2010, Natalie wrote:

    In 2004 I went to Florida with my family. While waiting for a bus we starting chatting with an elderly couple. The man told us he had moved there from England 50 years ago as he'd met his wife to be ,an American during the 2nd World War.
    We said, what a lovely place to live. It looks lovely, he said! His wife told us they were retired now but had worked all their lives and paid into medicare for their health insurance, only to find as their health was deteriorating they weren't covered for many age related conditions. She said when you really need it, it,s not there! Her husband added they were considering moving to England even though it would mean leaving their children and grandchildren. They didn't want to be a financial burden to their family but they needed treatment!
    I think that says it all, don't you?

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  • 253. At 5:15pm on 19 Mar 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:


    Mr Mardell! Astute observations! Good Call. Spot on and all that jazz.

    Sorry to chime in so late. I was off-line yesterday with a terribly sore neck...
    (actually - home sick/with the kids.)


    You know what I've learned this past year?

    I've realized that the GOP Red Scare Propaganda Machine is frighteningly effective at giving folks the heebie-jeebies, and I'm rather annoyed that the Grand Old Prospectors seem to care so little about little people.
    -- Us Daft Americans Don't Realize What's Good For Us!!!! It's Nuts!

    Have the unwashed masses yearning to breath free merely become the uneducated proletariat to be manipulated for the sake maintaining power?
    -- My God, I hope not.

    It is sick and I'm wait'n to see the cure roll out.

    With fingers crossed for reform --
    Love, Mom

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  • 254. At 5:34pm on 19 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    Andy (#238) "Most of the doctors in the US are MD which is ... a doctor of medicine. The implication is that their entire treatment centers on the use of medicine."

    This "implication" is nonsense. You are using the "medicine" at the end of the quote above to mean drugs, which is one particular meaning. However a doctor of medicine is someone who practices "medicine" in the most general meaning of the term, which Dorland's Medical Dictionary defines as: "the art and science of the diagnosis and treatment of disease and the maintenance of health".

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  • 255. At 5:38pm on 19 Mar 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    RE: 222. squirrelist & 215. rodidog --
    FYI: 'Hospice Care' (dying at home) is becoming the preferred method of US death for those who have have homes in which to die.

    Unfortunately, many of our elderly go to retirement homes, then assisted living, then nursing homes, then 6-feet under... And the services at these establishments are only pleasant for those who can afford pleasantries.

    We have a very large aging population, a nursing shortage, a doctor shortage, a financial crisis, and a bloated so-called "Health-Care-System". Is it any wonder folks are avoiding doctors when the cancer becomes terminal? Please, can't we at least DIE with some dignity?

    So... RodioDog - don't rightly know where you harken from, but I've seen quite a few friends and relations (more than I care to recall) choose to die at home. In fact, my parents have already made arrangements to visit me for their final hours.
    -- Cheery, isn't it?

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  • 256. At 5:59pm on 19 Mar 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    157. csgators :
    I work for a few doctors and from what I have seen they see and treat EVERYONE regardless of their ability to pay, you would not believe the amount of money doctors write off every year as noncollectable.

    Gator Honey - I am really really happy that in Georgia your doctors can afford to be such wonderful altruists.

    In some cities, Hospitals refuse to treat people who cannot pay. In fact, they have been known to ship dying people to area homeless shelters.

    More and more health care options (the cheap ones) send patients to Urgent Care centers for anything other than routine check-ups.

    Don't you see how the system is getting overburdened?
    -- insurance groups can't calculate risk due to inconsistent coverage/rates.
    SO, they send emergencies to hospitals.
    -- Hospitals/Doctors can't afford to treat the uncovered.
    So, people go untreated --OR-- they get treated and Hospitals/Doctors jack up their rates to cover their losses.
    -- due to higher costs & insurance rates, fewer businesses provide health insurance to their employees...


    ... come on Gator Honey - this ain't rocket science. This has already been spiraling out of control for years. It will take years and some serious intervention for this system to change. May you be in good health in the interim.

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  • 257. At 7:00pm on 19 Mar 2010, SouthernBelle wrote:

    If the proposed health care legislation is so wonderful, why do members of Congress exempt themselves from it?

    #138 made valid points and calm rebuttals to the previous remarks. You go Chris!



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  • 258. At 7:02pm on 19 Mar 2010, rodidog wrote:

    #242 RomeStu,

    I suppose I suffered from a form of tunnel vision when reading your quote. My bad.



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  • 259. At 8:00pm on 19 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re 257


    Congress members won't have to use the system they propose, because

    "some animals are more equal than others".



    BTW. Barack Husein Obama won't have to use it either.

    Just like his children don't have to use D.C. public schools.

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  • 260. At 01:15am on 20 Mar 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    259. At 8:00pm on 19 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    BTW. Barack Husein Obama won't have to use it either.

    Neither did George Walker Bush, or his father, George Herbert Walker Bush, or Ronald Wilson Reagan or John Fitzgerald Kennedy, or Richard Millhouse Nixon. All men with white skin and incredibly bland vanilla names. Them's the breaks. Go out and lobby to strip Congress of its health care coverage and force them to use the system they propose for us. I'll even join you on the line.

    Just like his children don't have to use D.C. public schools.

    Really, kat, would you send your kids to a DC public school if you didn't have to? Give me a break. How about you also lobby for DC to get more education funding so that they can bring their schools up to par. I'll join you for that one too.

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  • 261. At 02:27am on 20 Mar 2010, Rob wrote:

    There has been a gradual drift to socialism in this country since Teddy Roosevelt. I think what we're seeing here is many American's basically stating this is a bridge too far. While it is not within "historically unprecedented" levels, the opacity and backroom deals are a bit on the high side for a bill of this magnituted and public interest. Of course, it doesn't help that Obama promised transparency and Pelosi promised clean governance, both of which are being thoroughly violated in this process. It is similar to when Democrats call for Republicans with any affair to resign because of their hypocracy of running on family values while violating them. Americans (especially those NOT in the fringes) have always been about individual liberties, security and the economy (order varies with the current situation). Unfortunately, both parties seem to miss these points, and conenctrate on the wrong things and interpret their election as a mandate for everything else. Sadly, the Democrats lost perspective in less than 2 years (the Republicans took at least 6-8 years to start seriously drifting). Of course, the Democrats being in power, it is easier to point out their hypocracies. It's the reward of being the top dog. Of course, the media will continue to stir the pot and concentrate on the fringes to make things seem worse than they really are (makes for good ratings).

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  • 262. At 03:25am on 20 Mar 2010, csgators wrote:

    260. At 01:15am on 20 Mar 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    "How about you also lobby for DC to get more education funding so that they can bring their schools up to par. I'll join you for that one too."

    Gav come on really. The DC public schools are the most funded schools of any in the United States. They are funded directly by the US Congress. They are the poster child for money not equaling results.

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  • 263. At 04:10am on 20 Mar 2010, Alex wrote:

    I don't know about you guys over in the U.K.(and I'm not trying to be offensive about that), but everything over here just seems to be a war between two extreme government parties. It isn't very nice to get into politics in the U.S. because people are just going to disrespect you for being a liberal or a conservative. I've noticed that a lot of people just bash their opponents, and they don't even do anything to try and make their country better.

    So, how is life over there?

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  • 264. At 05:02am on 20 Mar 2010, expatintheoc wrote:

    I am self-employed and have my own insurance.

    I'm against this bill; I'm against the IRS getting involved to ensure everyone has adequate insurance and the billions it will cost, I'm against moving 15,000,000 people to Medicaid which will eventually burden the states (except for Nebraska if the Cornhusker kickback sticks!), I'm against having Healthcare reform and Education reform in the same bill, but most of the all I'm against the fact that there is NO tort reform, and I have not seen anyone discuss this (I have not read all the comments)!!! A significant cost to the system is in various legal expenses; doctors' premiums, settlements and the cost of 25% of all tests that are performed (in case of a lawsuit) are included in this. This needs addressing. Obama rants about the Insurance Industry lobbyists, he never brings up the Trial Lawyers lobby because it is either too strong or, more likely, because he IS a lawyer.

    In the US the majority of reports on the UK NHS are negative. Having lived with it for 28 years I defend it where appropriate (and there are plenty of occasions I defend it), I also criticize it at times.

    Likewise in the UK, you typically hear negative reports about the US system and cannot understand why anyone would vote against reform.

    Reform is needed but NOT 2700 pages plus another 170 pages of Obamacare.

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  • 265. At 07:51am on 20 Mar 2010, Dale Johnson wrote:

    Unfortunately I have had a chance to read everything I could get about this bill including the downloads from the Senate and the House on their bills. I have found that most people have been gravely mis-informed by the media and the Congressmen and Senators. This bill does not help the poor person, but it makes a lot of investors of the pharmacuticles better off for the many exemptions that it has.
    With all of its faults the people would be better served by cleaning up the Medicare/ Medicade system than putting another Boondoggle in its place. It also taxes everyone who has their own health care which is the way many of the upper income people pay their medical. They get better care and lower cost as they use their monies to invest for their medical and then make sure they get the best care for their money. Most tax advisors and people do not know of this loophole in the tax laws and so they pay much more taxes than they should.
    Having lived in other countries I find the healt care in the US to be better than I have gotten on the average in other countries. It seems strange that when the tax exempsion was enacted the Democrats fought against it tooth and nail. They are also cutting it with penalties in this bill which will reduce investment in American companies and strap higher burdens on the people of this country. As this bill is written it will fine people like me who live on very little (less than one third of the minimum wage) who have no health care except for the government system that is currently in place. This means that I would pay out about $150.00 more than I currently get in Disability benefits. this also means that if I can possibly save any money to put into tax shelters like the Medical Investment exclusion it will also be heavily taxed to pay for someone who does not have any insurance that makes more than I do.
    I really ask you if you think this is helping the poor? It sure does not look like it from what I can see and what they let people see. They also do not show the increased costs to people in their report which also agrees that it will cause many small companies to go broke because of the increase in the cost of paying for the Government system healthcare.

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  • 266. At 10:56am on 20 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "The system needs to be cleaned up and then it can do what it was supposed to do at the first."





    I, for one, do not begrudge Barack Hussein Obama taking advantage of the same things that his predecessors with Anglo-Saxon names have.

    Whether their true colors were pink or merely pale cream.

    [obviously 2008 was not 'a time for change']



    P.S. Gavrielle, I hate to correct you but meerkats are not cats.

    Although they can dispose of not only mice and rats.

    They've been known to attack cobras as well. Succesfully. :)

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  • 267. At 4:57pm on 20 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    expat.. (#264) "Reform is needed but NOT 2700 pages plus another 170 pages of Obamacare."

    Perhaps, so, but because the Republicans have refused to cooperate in producing a bipartisan plan which would have broader support, you are (I hope) going to get a Democratic plan whether you like it or not. That's the price the Republicans must pay for obstructionism. If there are aspects of the plan that need fixing, fix them down the road. Those of us who want a federal health care plan are not willing to wait for the Republicans to get on board.

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  • 268. At 6:56pm on 20 Mar 2010, Beznik wrote:

    I think that there are some white Americans who feel they lost their country because a black man is president. I mean a mixed race man who is half white and was raised by white parents and grandparents nonetheless to them he is a radical muslim communist who goes to church with a radical anti american crazy black preacher. (funny how hes a Muslim who goes to church) I think there are those that really believe that before the 60s the US really was an all white country. Of course there are people of all races who can't really be patriotic because they totally define themselves on race. For a lot of white racists always having the presidency made them feel safe. As if the president was really one of them. People in the United States have forgotten how to see class. Anyway these racists won't admit it; racism is more subtle these days, its not cool to admit to it anymore, but they will oppose and hate Obama no matter what he does. Quite a few of these racists are poor to middle class, if Obama gets them a better healthcare plan or maybe a deal on sending thier kids to college or a chance to favorably renegotiate their mortgage they will somehow not acknowledge it. Do I think the upper elites of the Republican Party are true racists no, not really, they are only interested in power and racism and throwing words like socialism around are useful tools. Quite a few of our congresspeople are actually prostitutes to helath insurance companies and they are only about one thing, money

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  • 269. At 10:35pm on 20 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    223. Andy:

    Yes, I can see the justice of many of your objections, and they are why I think, myself, this is a shambles of a reform. But other than be very unhelpful and say "how the hell did anybody let it get into this state in the first place" I'm not sure that, compared to similar provisions in countries which have mandatory private (but non-profit) health insurance, some of them hold water.

    Prohibiting insurers from charging different rates according to medical histories: that's not an individual cost; as now, the cost to insurers is spread over all premiums. That's what actuaries are for. (Anyway, isn't this provision meant to prevent someone who was ill or broke a leg while in one job being penalised when moving to another? This is only a problem when insurance is tiied to the job instead of the individual.

    Requiring most employers to provide coverage for their workers: See above. AFAIK in every European country, employers must contribute. if employers don't in the US, then surely they should pay enough for their employees to pay for adequate insurance themselves, but from what I've gleaned, that's hardly ever the case.

    On States' contribution to Medicaid: well, like Californians and Arizonians, the voters are just going to have to decide some time whether they want small taxes or small services. That's up to them. As I've suggested, the only real answer to that is VAT, which is paid by everyone. So, every time someone, even on a state benefit, or on a minimum wage, buys anything (apart from children's clothes, food, newspapers and books in the UK) they contribute tax revenue. If you can afford a £5,000 Rolex instead of my £50 Sekonda, you pay more. Simple, mostly fair, and it can't, obviously, be tax revenue that ever completely dries up.

    Many of these anomalies are the consequence of any real intent to reduce the actual charges of doctors, hospitals and drugs companies being thrown out at the very beginning. Common sense says without that (or applying them only to Medicare patients) would only increase what most Americans would view as already high insurance costs anyway. Somebody is going to have to revisit that.

    But then, what about the surely immeasurable benefit to most people of ensuring that you cannot suddenly become 'uninsured' because you have fallen victim to precisely what you thought you were insuring yourself against?


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  • 270. At 10:55pm on 20 Mar 2010, U14393209 wrote:

    Without some controls on the industry (and the GOP didn't seem willing to even entertain the idea of regulation) peopel cannot invest in new buisnesses. The costs of health care are too flexible to be able to approach a bank and show a buisness plan. They will say" have you set enough aside for your health care "(small buisness).
    They will then ask" How do you know that price will not shoot up and leave you uncovered. If that were so you would loose all you put in and so would or could we.
    Sorry NO"

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  • 271. At 11:01pm on 20 Mar 2010, U14393209 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 272. At 11:02pm on 20 Mar 2010, U14393209 wrote:

    Attack Cobras.

    So they like to remove the last vestiges of health care from those who are laid off work?

    Sound like it is time for a cull.

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  • 273. At 11:34pm on 20 Mar 2010, U14393209 wrote:

    264 So you don't like the idea of reform by Obama.
    Would you mind if Hillary took over?
    Or would you prefer to have Dick back?

    you should have stayed in your own country. This is america we care about people.
    Well we do when there are not packs of liars around confusing people.As you try to do


    "but most of the all I'm against the fact that there is NO tort reform, and I have not seen anyone discuss this (I have not read all the comments)!"
    Are you serious. Just about every right winger mentions it.
    Try doing some research to find out how much those cakes cost the industry every year.
    If you did you might be shocked into realising that it would not equal one percent of the problem.

    Try looking up Adrienny comments. Or even St Dominick or just about every single poster that lives in America.

    Just ignore those fales that pretend to live here.

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  • 274. At 11:41pm on 20 Mar 2010, Mike Stone Sr wrote:

    What obama is doing is unconstitutional and if it is forced through,I am looking forward to the political war that result because if the American people don't see
    obamas' "fascism" being reigned in by congress they will take matters in their own hands. We will not be subjugated!

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  • 275. At 01:19am on 21 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    270. procrastinationstolemylife:

    I suppose if you built in a 20 or 30 per cent increase every year, they'd say that was too great an expense, and "No"?

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  • 276. At 02:00am on 21 Mar 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    270. procrastinationstolemylife wrote:

    "Without some controls on the industry (and the GOP didn't seem willing to even entertain the idea of regulation) "

    I've been saying from he beginning that without restrictions or regulation of costs and charges, I cannot see how this is going to work.

    Supposedly, charges that can be made for Medicaid and Medicare will be constrained; but if doctors, clinics, and hospitals are all private, then all I can see happening is them in turn restricting what they provide for those patients. Why shouldn't they if they can make twice or three times as much from the health insurance companies who can simply pass the costs on in higher premiums?

    Everybody talks of this bill 'costing' 940 biliion dollars or whatever. And the 100 million for a new hospital here, additional money to pad out state funds there. But I have never read a single analysis of the projected effect of it on ordinary people's insurance premiums for good or ill.

    Much of what I read here, and in other places, just amounts to "if you can't afford it, tough, you need to work harder and earn more." Or, "if it doesn't cover what you've got, well, you should have worked harder and earned more and you'd have been able to pay". Or "I'm OK, mine's a good one--and anyway I've never been ill and never will be."




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  • 277. At 04:16am on 21 Mar 2010, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    266. At 10:56am on 20 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    I, for one, do not begrudge Barack Hussein Obama taking advantage of the same things that his predecessors with Anglo-Saxon names have.

    You implied that you did, by criticizing his use of it.

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  • 278. At 12:38pm on 21 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    No, I didn't.

    What I wrote, expressis verbis, was that 2008 was obviously not the "time for change".

    Since we've got merely more of the SOS, it seems. :(

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  • 279. At 7:04pm on 21 Mar 2010, U14393209 wrote:

    274 And I thought I was stoned.
    Well done you have bested me. But what drug are you on.



    276 Yes it is a problem. Those costs.Better to just take control of the Hospitals and force them to charge less;)

    I do think they could make a set fee in washington that is what all get charged. make it a voucher system of some sort.
    No charges dependant on age ,medical history ,life style etc.

    Or they will develope more "tests" that prove you are ill and try their best to drop or get you to drop their coverage.

    Eugenics 2U0S0A0 style.

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  • 280. At 7:09pm on 21 Mar 2010, U14393209 wrote:

    277 Yepo

    " I don't mind if a blackman uses all the tools the white men used"


    Seems on the face of it accepting.
    But I am with you all the way. It does seem as if this one has issues.
    I wonder if he ever was a member of any strange organisations, like the King Kong Kaboodles

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  • 281. At 7:21pm on 21 Mar 2010, U14393209 wrote:

    278
    yes you did.

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  • 282. At 8:46pm on 21 Mar 2010, amaryr wrote:

    Ref 263 - Alex

    Much the same - just not quite so - erm - rude.

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  • 283. At 11:02pm on 21 Mar 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    274. At 11:41pm on 20 Mar 2010, Mike Stone Sr wrote:

    "What obama is doing is unconstitutional and if it is forced through,I am looking forward to the political war that result because if the American people don't see
    obamas' "fascism" being reigned in by congress they will take matters in their own hands. We will not be subjugated!"

    __________

    Please identify the section of the Constitution to which you refer, and explain how President Obama (who only has to sign the bill once it has already been passed by Congress) has failed to comply with the Constitution.

    What a refreshing change to see someone referring to President Obama's fascism. I was getting tired of only hearing him called a communist or a socialist.

    But just to make sure it isn't a case of confusion, could you please define fascism and describe what President Obama has done to be called a fascist?

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  • 284. At 3:06pm on 23 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    No, It's perfectly clear now that 2008 was not the time for change".

    And that in in the end of March 2010 we're in the same old s..t.

    Perhaps a change will finally come in November?

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  • 285. At 3:12pm on 24 Mar 2010, DisgustedWithUSA wrote:

    Just so we are aware of what America is today. In “liberal” Minneapolis most people are driving huge black pickup trucks, huge black sport utility vehicles or luxury cars such as Cadillacs, Lincoln Continentals and BMWs. A large percentage are driving 70 to 90 miles per hour on roads with a 55 mile per hour limit posted. Concerns about wasting resources, conspicuous consumption, breaking the law, endangering lives, or having a civil society are not top on the list.

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  • 286. At 3:56pm on 24 Mar 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "Disgusted.." in #285 is clearly making this up. I've lived in the Twin Cities myself. It's much like any urban area in the US, with the usual variety of vehicles and drivers.

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  • 287. At 5:44pm on 25 Mar 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Let's ban all the cars.

    [They kill more people than any recent wars]

    Starting with Toyota.

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