Now THIS is cool… a little pop quiz on the new Healthcare Bill via The NYT

I just came across this over at Crooks and Liarsa sweet, little, 10 question, true-or-false quiz about what’s in and what’s not in the new healthcare bill, via the New York Times. It’s pretty cool. There’s been faaaaar too much false information flowing around out there about this thing. I have to say… the more I learn about the actual bill… the more I like it!

How Health Care Reform Will (and Will Not) Change Your Life

Directions: Based on your understanding of health care reform, circle “T” for true or “F” for false for each statement.

1. Starting in 2014, most Americans will have to have a minimum amount of health insurance or else pay a penalty of $95 or .5% of household income, whichever is greater. T F

2. In the health insurance marketplace created by the reform bill, individuals and employees will be assigned insurance plans based on their needs, rather than choosing the plans for themselves. T F

3. In 2014, the government will launch a new health insurance company which will compete against private companies. T F

4. Under the new health care law, employers will be required to offer health insurance to all workers. T F

5. Starting later this year, the government will give tax credits to small business owners who want to offer their employees health insurance. T F

6. Despite the reform, insurance companies will still be able to deny an individual coverage based on his or her age and/or medical condition. T F

7. Under the new plan, federal money cannot be used to pay for abortions, except in cases currently allowed by law, such as rape, incest or when the pregnant woman’s life is in danger. T F

8. To pay for the new insurance plans, individuals and employers will pay premiums; the rest will be covered by new taxes on high-cost employer-sponsored group health plans and tanning bed use; additional payroll taxes for people who earn more than $200,000 per year, and fees to be collected from health care companies, drug makers, manufacturers of medical devices and insurance companies. T F

9. Starting in 2014, all illegal immigrants will be able to purchase health insurance through the government. T F

10. The health insurance reform will result in an estimated 16 million new Medicaid recipients. T F

You can find the answers over at the Times, in the fifth paragraph down.

After you take it yourself… and don’t lie about your score… ***raises one eyebrow***… pass it along.

13 Attorneys General Seek Activist Judge to Overturn the Will of the Majority

Attorneys general from 13 states sued the federal government Tuesday, claiming the landmark health care overhaul is unconstitutional just seven minutes after President Barack Obama signed it into law.

Thirteen states to choose from, and they chose to file in Pensacola, Florida. Their argument?

“The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty, that all citizens and legal residents have qualifying health care coverage,” the lawsuit says.

If true, then Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional.

The lawsuit claims the bill violates the 10th Amendment, which says the federal government has no authority beyond the powers granted to it under the Constitution, by forcing the states to carry out its provisions but not reimbursing them for the costs.

Unfunded mandates. Sorry, but the federal government does that to the states, the states to that to their counties, the counties do that to the cities.

Virginia and Idaho have passed legislation aimed at blocking requirements in the bill, and the Republican-led Legislature in Florida is trying to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to ask voters to exempt the state from the federal law’s requirements. At least 60 percent of voters would have to approve.

And the those states are somehow supposed to set aside the Constitution’s supremacy clause?

One radio show speaker this morning said that it violates the 1st Amendment’s proscription against the establishment of religion because federal dollars can be used to fund abortions. Well, federal dollars are being used to fund illegal wars, and that goes against my beliefs.

The hyperbole on the Right isn’t going to stop. And it hasn’t been about the truth for a long time now. I think the just like the attention they get from throwing their temper tantrums.

Drinkin’ the purple kool-aid

“Kill the bill!  Kill the bill!!”

Whatever’s in the bill, they’re against it.  They can’t point out the terrible things in the bill — euthanasia, rationing, government take over, etc — but DAMMIT they are against it!

Daily Kos

UPDATE:  Disgusting teabaggers shout the word “nigger” at black members of Congress.  What does a congressman’s ethnicity have to do with the health care reform issue?  I’m sure the teabaggers can explain that as well as they explain why they don’t like the HCR bill.

Olbermann: A Cry For Help “Damn [Sarah Palin] To Hell”

In his “Special Comment” last night, Keith Olbermann began with this:

“Last Friday night my father asked me to kill him..”

And in a tortured, choked voice, he ends this comment with these words:

“Help… Help… Help… Help….”

This was a deeply personal, incredibly powerful comment. Don’t miss it.

Part 1:

Part 2:

It’s not Health; it’s not Care; and it’s not Reform

Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment about the hollowed out health care reform bill, HR3590, killed by political gamesmanship.

Part 1

Part 2

No single-payer.

No public option.

No Medicare buy-in.

Purchase of health insurance mandatory, or pay a penalty.

Not health, not care, and not reform — but it is a tremendous gift to the death panels insurance cartel.

Former Gov. Howard Dean writes in the Washington Post, “If I were a senator, I would not vote for the current health-care bill. … Washington has decided, once again, that the American people cannot be trusted to choose for themselves.” (HT: ThinkProgress)

UPDATE:  Bob Cesca is really pissed off, but…

UPDATE:  Here’s a list of 54 Republican members of Congress who receive government-funded; government-administered single-payer health care – Medicare, but oppose anyone else having the same option:

Rep. Ralph M. Hall
Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett
Rep. Sam Johnson
Rep. C.W. Bill Young
Rep. Howard Coble
Sen. Jim Bunning
Sen. Richard G. Lugar
Rep. Don Young
Sen. Charles E. Grassley
Sen. Robert F. Bennett
Rep. Vernon J. Ehlers
Sen. Orrin G. Hatch
Sen. Richard C. Shelby
Rep. Jerry Lewis
Sen. James M. Inhofe
Rep. Ron Paul
Rep. Henry E. Brown
Sen. Pat Roberts
Sen. George V. Voinovich
Sen. John McCain
Rep. Judy Biggert
Sen. Thad Cochran
Rep. Harold Rogers
Rep. Dan Burton
Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon
Rep. Frank R. Wolf
Rep. Michael N. Castle
Rep. Joe Pitts
Rep. Tom Petri
Sen. Lamar Alexander
Rep. Doc Hastings
Rep. Cliff Stearns
Rep. Sue Myrick
Rep. John Carter
Sen. Mitch McConnell
Sen. Jon Kyl
Rep. Phil Gingrey
Rep. Nathan Deal
Rep. John Linder
Rep. Kay Granger
Rep. John L. Mica
Rep. Walter B. Jones
Sen. Jim Risch
Rep. Ed Whitfield
Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner
Rep. Virginia Foxx
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison
Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite
Sen. Saxby Chambliss
Sen. Michael B. Enzi
Rep. Elton Gallegly
Rep. Donald Manzullo
Rep. Peter T. King
Rep. Ander Crenshaw

And Joe Lieberman (party of one, for one)

The human faces of health care reform

By Rich Stockwell, Senior producer for Countdown

It happened as I watched a 50-something woman walk out, after spending several hours being attended to by volunteer doctors. “She’s decided against treatment. A reasonable decision under the circumstances,” the doctor tells us as she heads for the next patient. The president of the board of the National Association of Free Health Clinics tells me why: “It’s stage four breast cancer, her body is filled with tumors.” I don’t know when that woman last saw a doctor. But I do know that if she had health insurance, the odds she would have seen a doctor long ago are much higher, and her chances for an earlier diagnosis and treatment would have been far greater.

Keith read Rich’s very moving blog entry in its entirety last night on Countdown. This could be any of us, at any given moment.

If Americans are worried about the possibility of “Death Panels” in the health care reform bill, never fear — they are already here.

Just ask the lady with the Stage 4 breast cancer…

Read the rest of Rich Stockwell’s excellent post here.

Keith Olbermann: I do not want to yell…

Keith Olbermann gave a one-hour Special Comment this evening, and if you’re not moved to tears, especially by the last five minutes, then you are not aware of the current state of American humanity — or lack thereof.

Like Keith, I don’t understand why it’s okay to let someone suffer with sickness and pain, and die a needless or early death, simply because they do not have money.

Is this what the Founding Fathers had in mind when we finally broke from England with the Declaration of Independence?  That we would be freed from the tyranny of the Crown, only to subjugate ourselves to the tyranny of Corporate Health Care and BigPharma?  I’m going to take a huge chance here, and say NO.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Keith began with, “I do not want to yell…”

I understand where he’s coming from, since there have been plenty of screamers these last few months.  But frankly, I don’t mind yelling out TRUTH, INDIGNATION and COMPASSION for the sake of my fellow man — even if my fellow man would not do the same for me.

That’s why it’s called compassion.

Read the text of the Special Comment here.

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Keith Olbermann to deliver Special Comment on health care reform

Huffington Post

Keith Olbermann will deliver an hour-long “Special Comment” on health care Wednesday night, MSNBC announced Tuesday.

Wednesday’s “Countdown” will be devoted entirely to “Health Care Reform: The Fight Against Death.” According to a network release, it will focus on “the need for and meaning of health care reform in the United States” and Olbermann will “propose group action by patients, and how patients can reclaim the debate over health care reform.”

Keith has previously given two Special Comments on the health care reform issue:  One about members of Congress being owned by the health care lobby; and the other was aimed at Quitter Palin’s fear-mongering about the so-called “death panels.”

Weiner confronts McCaughey support for plan to delay Medicare for seniors

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Dylan Ratigan exposes Betsy McCaughey for the fear-mongerer and liar that she is. Well done Anthony Weiner, for not allowing this woman to dominate this particular conversation, and calling her out on her lies. McCaughey refuses (or simply cannot) answer Ratigan’s questions, and is reduced to whining about his skills as a moderator. Waahhhh!!

Aaarrrgh Begarrrrr

Another fun and timely post by our friend, Hoodathunk.  Enjoy it me hearties, or you’ll swim with the fishes!

Shiver me timbers.  Swab the poop deck, matey, piracy is back.  We’ve got our letters of marquee declaring the government backs our actions so hoist sail and hunt the prey.  Grab your fan blades, prime the file cabinets for firing while we hunt.  Arrrrgh…somebody shut that damn parrot up.



Profits there be in plundering the weak, the sad sacks who think that by paying us to protect them we will listen.  Yes, mateys, they hand over their coin of the realm and expect us to protect them from evils and illness but since we be blessed by the powers that be we can laugh…ha ha ha…while they wallow in their suffering.  Even better, once we take their pitiful tribute we can hand them over to the debtor’s jails while we make port in Switzerland, safe behind our bank accounts.

Never fear, my friends, the Jolly Roger flies once more!  We have bought the harbormasters and our plunder is not only secure but guaranteed.  Our profits are our freedom.  Just as it was in the old days, we have been given the right to plunder the unsuspecting in the name of making the world a safer and better place.  No one notices that we are total privateers, embracing our booty, sinking whatever we find so we can enjoy the lifestyle we have become accustomed to.  No one notices we provide no useful service other than pillage and plunder for our own gain.  Pirates gather wealth and booty because that is what we do.  Gold is our gain, our reason for being.  We don’t have to supply anything else.

Continue reading

Rep Alan Grayson speaks plain English: The Right is taken aback

The wingnuts would have us believe the entire issue is Grayson’s use of the word “holocaust.”  No no no, it’s nothing about right wing policies or their bloodthirsty attitude about health care reform.  Not at all!

Over 44,000 dead EVERY YEAR because they don’t have access to health care until it becomes a dire emergency or entirely too late.  What would YOU call it?

Keep up the good work, Rep Grayson.  We’re proud of you.

President Obama’s speech re health care reform — open thread

Will the President come through for the American people, with the change we need?

Please feel free to post your thoughts or predictions on the matter, and/or post your comments while the speech is going on.

See the text of the speech here.

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The doctor conducts a “death panel”

Guest Blogger, Mike Grady MD, returns with his insight into the so-called “death panel.”  See Dr Grady’s previous post here.

I recently conducted one of Sarah Palin’s “ death panels” and thought I would let you know how it went. The expression of course comes from Palin’s absurd

delusion that a proposed provision of the President’s health plan would have the government making decisions to deny health care to elderly and disabled citizens. The actual language would have Medicare pay physicians to have voluntary end-of-life discussions with patients at critical junctures in their lives. Nothing more; nothing less.

My conference was a typical one. An elderly patient is admitted to a nursing facility after an extensive hospitalization with uncertainty about his prognosis and whether he will ever be able to return home. The patient, whose capacity to make decisions is limited, and family members are present. There were no government bureaucrats in the room or mandatory discussion guidelines. There was instead a good discussion of diagnoses and the clinical uncertainties involved. Decisions were made and some deferred about resuscitation, re-hospitalization, tube feedings, aggressive vs. palliative care and hospice. All of this was explored in view of the patient’s values, preferences and priorities.

These kinds of conversations are necessary because of the way we die. We do not get old and die; we get old and sick and die, with an average of 5-10 years of disability before our deaths. Advancements in medicine have both prolonged our lives and, in some cases, prolonged our dying. This places us in a position of being able to make choices about how we die. We can make decisions for ourselves and our loved ones that may make the difference between whether that last touch is from a spouse or the hand of someone doing chest compressions; whether the last sound we hear is a whispered good bye or the swoosh of a ventilator; whether the last nutrition we receive is a lovingly offered spoonful or a concoction delivered by a surgically implanted tube in our abdomen.

We are fortunate in Oregon to live in a state that has pioneered end of life care. The Physician Order for Life Sustaining Treatment ( POLST ) form, in particular, developed at OHSU, has served as a useful instrument in focusing the discussions and clarifying the decisions at the end of life.

Palin’s paranoia and its apparent success bode poorly for the important resource allocation decisions we need to make as a society. We cannot afford all beneficial health care. Ideally, we will make these determinations by combining the best medical information with community values in a process that is transparent and protected from the demagoguery that Palin and her ilk currently use to disrupt and poison our national dialogue.

So there you have it, death panels in action. Be afraid, Sarah Palin. We are out there. There are thousands of us. We are physicians, nurses, chaplains and others who believe that patients in hospitals, nursing homes, palliative care and hospice deserve these difficult, time consuming discussions when life is ending or on the horizon.

Michael Grady, M.D.

Dr. Grady is a family physician in Silverton. He can be reached at:

Posted in full on TheZoo with the expressed permission of the author, Michael Grady.

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Ol’ Gus Porter, American Legend

Gus Porter, American Legend with Thomas Haden Church. (From Funny or Die)

Gus Porter gets mauled by a bear, but he won’t let the socialist Canadian health care fix him up, so he’ll hike back to America…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Hey, this can’t be any weirder than the stuff taking place in the town halls right now..

Give Us Single Payer

In the current health care reform discussions, the one option that would have solved everything that’s wrong with our health care system was taken off the table virtually from the beginning – Single Payer. Ill-informed people from all over the country have been flocking to their local town hall discussions with their Congressmen and Senators to tell them, for reasons no sane person can explain, that they don’t want a government-run, Single Payer health care system, but whatever you do, don’t touch their Medicare because they love it (oblivious to the fact that Medicare is a government-run, Single payer health care system.) Fueling the opposition to any kind of meaningful health care reform is the health insurance industry. They are fighting for what they think is their right to make money off your medical problems. It’s not like they make the medications and medical equipment you sometimes need; they are nothing more than an intermediary between you and your doctor’s billing office. Yet, if they have their way, you will have to pay 35% of your medical bills, even if you are paying them for insurance coverage. Are they barely making any money? Hardly, as they seem to have hundreds of millions of dollars to pay the people who sit on their executive boards. Then there’s they way they fix the system to cheat you out of money. You know how they always say they’ll pay 80% of “reasonable and customary charges”? Well, there’s two companies that are in the business of determining what would be considered “reasonable and customary.” And one insurance giant, United Health Care, owns them both. So, if they decide that a reasonable and customary charge for an x-ray is $100, they’ll only cover $80 of it, even if the actual charge is $150. You pick up the $70 difference. One simple change would save $350 billion a year – standardize the forms used, which is what would happen with Single Payer. It really is the best way to go.

In the meantime, enjoy this song parody of Bon Jovi’s “Living On a Prayer.”

Give Us Single Payer
Original words and music “Living on a Prayer” by Jon Bon Jovi,
Additional lyrics by Wayne A. Schneider, 2009

Once upon a time not so long ago:

Tommy loves his work as a doc.
Patients have all griped,
Insurance is not enough.
It’s tough.

Continue reading

A Doctor’s Voice: Medicaid for all, The Stump, by Michael Grady

We will have health care reform by the holidays, but it won’t be what we need.

The $265 million spent by the health care industrial complex on lobbying in the first half of this year, and the millions to follow, guarantee there will be no robust public option. Gone will be our best hope of curtailing the health

insurance, drug and device industries that have failed to give us value for our health care dollars.

But it’s our stubborn refusal to discuss what a just and sustainable public benefit for health care should contain that ensures that changes to the system will be cosmetic. In particular, the failure to substantively address Medicare continues our national delusion that we can ignore the unfunded liability of this program over the next 25 years.

The projected shortfall for Medicare, in the tens of trillions of dollars, will make our current concern about $1 trillion in new health care spending seem silly. The problem with Medicare is the problem with insurance in general: It is designed in a way that encourages providers and patients to get as much as they can from it.

In his recent article in The New Yorker, Atul Gawande brings attention to information that we’ve known about for 20 years. There is a large regional variation in the delivery of medical care services, with more expensive care not producing better health outcomes. This variation is not only expensive, but also harmful and even shameful. There are too many physicians who view their patients as profit centers.

But medical providers are only half of the problem. For every unnecessary test or procedure, there is a patient who equates newer with better, and more health care with better health care.

Physician self-interest, a cultural inclination to uncritically embrace new technology and an unwillingness to accept limits, especially at the end of life, have produced a perfect storm of unsustainable utilization of the Medicare benefit and commercial insurance.

Our societal task is to identify those health care goods and services that provide the most benefit for the population consistent with the best evidence available and incorporating the agreed-upon values of the community. We need to end the senseless arguments about rationing. Public resources for health care are scarce. It’s not a question of whether we ration, but how.

Single-payer advocates have used the mantra “Medicare for all.” But a more appropriate public program that could potentially model a sustainable core benefit for all Americans is Medicaid. This combined state and federal program for the poor has a better record of controlling the benefit in a cost-effective manner. With modifications, it could serve as the core publicly provided benefit for all Americans, with private insurance serving a large secondary insurance market for those willing and able to pay for additional coverage.

“Medicaid for all” — with global budgeting, prioritization of services determined using the best available evidence in a politically protected process, available to and paid for by all Americans — is a more sustainable model for publicly funded health care in the United States.

Michael Grady is a family physician in Silverton and serves on the Community Leadership Council of the Archimedes Movement.

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Posted in full on TheZoo with the expressed permission of the author, Michael Grady.

Fight for the Public Option

Shem Walker Leto receives dental care from a volunteer dental hygienist, Marie Ekins, at the massive Free Clinic at the Forum in Los Angeles on August 11. (Photo: Genaro Molina / The Los Angeles Times)

Shem Walker Leto receives dental care from a volunteer dental hygienist, Marie Ekins, at the massive Free Clinic at the Forum in Los Angeles on August 11. (Photo: Genaro Molina / The Los Angeles Times)

By Marc Ash, Truthout

As August comes to a close, one of the most important debates in American history will come to a point of decision making. Will Americans have the option to support their own health care system if they choose?

It will not only be important as a political precedent or as policy statement; it will be a landmark moment socially. Will we as Americans care for Americans in illness and need? The conflict could not be more stark, the stakes any higher.

The horror of the drowning of New Orleans played out in media images before a disbelieving nation. The enormity of what we were seeing a rational mind had to view as an anomaly, an aberration. An entire US city left to die with more than adequate resources standing by to have saved so many lives? Why? How could this be? But in places like Wise County, Virginia, and Inglewood, California, scenes hauntingly reminiscent of crowds at the New Orleans Superdome, new crowds of uninsured Americans, desperately hoping for services, thronged to open air or poorly sanitized mass clinics, hoping for any chance at health care, any chance to receive medical attention.

What we need is not “change”; we need tradition. An American tradition of fortitude and caring. It can no longer be the responsibility of the corporations or the government; the community must lead. The time has come to fight for the public health care option.

The dialog must be broad enough and creative enough to include moderate conservatives and religious conservatives as well. Moderate conservatives have been pushed to the margins too long, their voices cowed along with liberals. If the conservative movement is to recover, it must be prepared to re-embrace social responsibility.

Not since Eisenhower’s warning of the perils of an increasingly powerful “military-industrial-complex” in his 1961 farewell speech, has moderate conservatism really held the moral high ground. There is an overnight political resurrection to be realized if moderate conservatives can be rallied to act for public health care. Religious conservatives are, in fact, already on the move, scheduling what are being called prayer vigils in cities across the country.

Conversely, a newly revitalized Democratic majority stands to squander the political capitol they gained in the past two elections by reneging on their promise to bring about meaningful progress on health care reform. There is a notion often floated that any bill passed on health care will pass as progress, as reform. But it will not. The large health care conglomerates are corrupt and ruthlessly so. Legislation that allows those policies to continue must not be allowed to go unchallenged.

When Hillary Clinton mounted a meaningful attempt at health care reform in the early ’90s, the health care industry and their political allies on Capitol Hill were quick to point to her defeat as the final nail in her political coffin and the coffin of public health care. It wasn’t dead, however, it was just buried under a Bush. Low and behold, both Hillary Clinton and public health care have risen again.

The reason that public health care will not go away is that it’s bigger than politics, bigger than policy and bigger than financial profit. There are tens of millions uninsured and more than half the population paying, but receiving substandard care. The problem is gigantic and growing rapidly.

The time has come to say no. It must be said clearly and directly at all times in all places. Any health care legislation that does not include a public option is a fraud. There are members of Congress who are committed to preserving the public option; they need all the support they can get.

This is a fight whose time has come.


This article is re-printed in full with the expressed permission of Marc Ash to TheZoo.


Contact President Obama at the White House here.

Contact your Senator from the list here.

Contact your Representative from the list here.

This is the time to act, we cannot wait any longer.  Write the President and your Congress people.  Do it now, and do it often.  Be polite, but be clear, and don’t leave any question as to what you’re asking of them.

A sleeping giant…?

I’m sure Ms Abram means well, but it’s truly astonishing that she is so ill-informed.

She’s “only 35 years old,” so that means she was of voting age during the Bush years, 9/11, illegal wiretapping and surveillance, the anthrax attacks, the on-going Afghanistan and Iraq wars, Katrina, etc.  But now that health care reform is on the table — a program that clearly would help her own family — her ears have perked up.  NOW she’s terrified.

Lawrence O’Donnell was quite gentle with her, and thankfully so, because he could have eviscerated this low information voter.  Of course, I’m assuming she has voted…