Bad Deeds for 8-6-2009

We Will All Pay Dearly if Health Care Reform is Not Enacted – Every American has a direct stake in health care reform. Every citizen faced with soaring health care bills, every one of the 14,000 who lose their health insurance each day, every one of the millions frozen in jobs for fear of losing health insurance, every family that faces bankruptcy because someone got sick, every one denied coverage or cut off of coverage because he or she fell sick, every parent losing sleep over a child entering the workforce without insurance, every senior gouged by unconscionable prescription drug prices , every worker who simply can’t afford adequate coverage for her or his family. If the insurance industry and the Republican right manage once more to frustrate reform, all of us will pay part of the price.

We desperately need to step up to deal with the fundamental changes that can no longer be avoided. This isn’t a spectator sport. The abusive tactics of the right are designed to keep the good hearted away, to create fear in the undecided, to cow timorous legislators. We can’t allow that to happen. It is time to go all in.


Republican Fear Mongering About Cost of Universal Care Misses the Point – The health care debate has been hijacked by fears about cost and how we will pay for universal coverage. Will it cost $1.6 trillion or $900 billion over 10 years? This is beside the point. Every other industrialized nation spends far less (about half) and creates much better health for its citizens. We are next to Cuba in life expectancy, yet they spend $184 per capita annually on health care and we spend over $8,000.

The focus in health reform is on doing what we already do better, not doing the right thing. We are looking for ways to pay less for what we are already doing, not pay less as a result of improving the “product” of health care – the health of the individual, and communities.

Medical services that we hold as sacred such as medications, procedures and surgery, often don’t work, or don’t work as well as we thought to treat the diseases that account for the majority of sickness and costs today, namely heart disease, diabetes, obesity, prostate and breast cancer (and many other chronic diseases including digestive disorders, mood disorders and autoimmune diseases).

Yet we reimburse for these services because of lobbyists and clinical practice guidelines established through industry influence or custom, not science. We pay for what we do even if it is not proven effective, which leads to higher costs and no improved health outcomes, as long it is a medication or a procedure.

Pay for what works. Pay for health. Pay for quality, not volume. Then costs will come down.


Republican Senator Ignores Facts in His Statement About Ted Kennedy’s Care – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), said that in countries with government-run health care, Sen. Ted Kennedy “would not get the care he gets here because of his age.” But, the disturbing truth is that this country now lags well behind other advanced nations in delivering timely and effective care. Among developed countries, the United States has the 10th highest death rate among cancer patients, higher than Spain and Sweden.

But the larger problem Grassley ignores is cost. For Kennedy, access to health care is not an issue. Among most Americans, however, staggering health costs prevent more than half of U.S. patients from gaining access to medical care. Last year, 38 percent of U.S. patients did not receive recommended treatment compared to 11 percent in Canada and 6 percent in the U.K. And even among Americans with insurance, 43 percent of adults with chronic conditions nevertheless had access problems because of cost.


Combating the Lies: Health Reform Fact Check – Strong health care legislation with a public plan option passed two House committees and the Senate’s health committee. And polling continues to show wide support for the main provisions in those bills. Yet the drumbeat for inaction continues to pound, with conservatives vowing to “break Obama,” and the media headlining every hiccup and ignoring every success.

There is only one way to break the Washington culture of inertia and pass legislation this year. SPEAK UP. Even Senators and Congresspeople who want to be with us, are begging to hear from constituents. And the opponents of change can’t be allowed to stand in the way of health reform.

Myth/Fact Sheets below:

1. Media Matters Action Network Health Reform Fact Check
2. House Ed and Labor Health Reform Fact Check
3. House Ways and Means, “Myth vs. Fact on Health Care Reform”
4. The Great Geno, “Debunking the Myths, Lies, and Slander of the Health Care Bill”
5. teSadly, No on mortality rates for different diseases and factors in the US versus Canadaxt
6. Myth Vs. Fact On Republican Leader’s Op-Ed On Health Insurance Reform Legislation
7. Get more FACTS about America’s Affordable Health Choices Act Here
8. House Education and Labor Committee, “Health Care Checkup: Wall Street Journal Health Care Editorial Wrong on the Facts”
9. Think Progress, “Igor Volsky Debunks Lou Dobbs’ Myths about Health Reform”
10. A line-by-line refutation of a nasty and misleading right-wing chain email going around


Democratic Congressman’s Life Threatened Over Health Care Bill – Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC) offices have received threatening phone calls, including at least one direct threat against his life. “We have received a threatening phone call in the D.C. office, there have been calls to the Raleigh office,” said Miller communications director LuAnn Canipe. “The call to the D.C. office was, ‘Miller could lose his life over this,'” said Canipe.


More Conservative Bullying – As lobbyist-run groups encourage conservative activists to “rattle” members of Congress at local town hall events, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), the president of the freshman Democratic class has revealed that “at least one freshman Democrat” has already been “physically assaulted at a local event.” Connolly warned that conservative groups had taken things to a “dangerous level”:

“When you look at the fervor of some of these people who are all being whipped up by the right-wing talking heads on Fox, to me, you’re crossing a line,’ Connolly said. ‘They’re inciting people to riot with just total distortions of facts. They think we’re going to euthanize Grandma and the government is going to take over.” Nancy Pelosi is the next target by the Malkinites and that could get really ugly.

Frank Kratovil was hung in effigy. Chris Dodd was told to go kill himself. Gerry Connolly says that one Freshman was assaulted, and Brad Miller got death threats.


Compassionate Conservative Says Maybe the Two Freed Reporters Should Have Just Stayed Imprisoned in North Korea – Everyone but Fox analysts pretty much celebrated yesterday’s release of the two American women held hostage in North Korea, thanks to Bill Clinton’s diplomatic efforts. Dick Morris, on Fox and Friends this morning with Gretchen Carlson, during which he called Clinton’s successful negotations “ridiculous”:

Carlson: How are we supposed to get the girls home, though, Dick? And I only have 30 seconds. How are we supposed to get them home?
Morris: I don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe they don’t come home. Maybe they go to North Korea and live with the consequences of their decision to go there.

These people are really beyond redemption, aren’t they?


Republicans Bash Program Whose Positive Effect on the Economy is Six Times What it Costs – Republicans have been criticizing the Cash for Clunkers program all over radio, TV and in speeches. But many economists agree that the popular Cash for Clunkers program is likely to provide a significant lift to more than just the battered auto industry. Joseph Carson, chief economist at AllianceBernstein. “It’s having an intended, if not larger, impact than people expected.” Carson said the $1 billion in government money spent on Cash for Clunkers program has unlocked private spending.

And according to some estimates, the total of $3 billion spent on Cash for Clunkers could result in an $18 billion boost to the overall economy. “In terms of bang for the buck, this is up there pretty high up there,” said John Irons, research and policy director for the Economic Policy Institute. David Wyss, chief economist for Standard & Poor’s, estimates that the program could add about a half of a percentage point to gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the nation’s economic activity, over the next two quarters. While that sounds small, Wyss said it’s a significant impact for a program of such relatively modest cost to taxpayers. Oh, it’s resulting in cleaner air, also.





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About Jim Vogas

Texas A&M Aggie, Retired aerospace engineer, former union member, Vietnam vet, Demcratic Party organizer, husband and father.

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