Tuesday, April 22, 2008
In our country we spend 15.3% of our GNP on health care. But our outcomes and quality of life and death are much lower than in other countries. We have a higher infant mortality rate and a lower life expectancy than the the five other countries examined. The other countries included Great Britain, Taiwan, Japan, Switzerland and Germany. Some of them charge premiums, some don't. What they do in common is lower percentages of GNP spent than us and arguably, better care. I always thought that the over use of MRI's and CT scanners was the driving factor for our expensive system but Japan has many times over the number of scanners we have. They are all also SINGLE PAYER systems, the dreaded "government run" health care. The republicans harping about how terrible the Medicare bureaucracy is simply meant to distract us while their cronies rob us blind. Medicare is a very efficient system. Medicare "reform" has been an expensive boondoggle of the American people. Bush and his wealthy friends in the hospital, drug company and insurance industry sat down and divided Medicare into fat slices of cash pie split three ways. Medicare was supposed to be reformed by forming Medicare HMOs. What they didn't tell us was their real plan.
Start off by supplementing the health insurance companies, drug companies and hospitals to fool people with relatively low rates for their policies. They could do this because Bush pays these companies 12% MORE than he pays Medicare. So they rope all the elderly and disabled into the Medicare HMOs and get them used to their policies because they have perks like crappy dental and vision coverage. It seems like a no brainer for the users now but there is more to their plan. They will continue to raise their rates every year. They will continue to cut coverage and raise co-pays. But by the time the average person understands what they are doing it will be too late to go back to plain old Medicare coverage because it will be gone. That is where our system is headed now, a profit-making system where giant corporations grow cash by providing us with expensive and ever shrinking coverage. When money is the measure, the unnecessary elements, like listening to the patient or examining them are bypassed in order to shovel them through the meat grinder of modern practice. It is not really that different from the way we treat cattle, except we don't get slaughtered, usually. Did I say how important it is that we get a Democrat elected?
Monday, April 14, 2008
The military-big oil complex continues to drain our treasury everyday we are in
The nation’s infrastructure is aging and in many places decrepit. Rebuilding it would be an important source of job creation, but nothing on the scale that is needed is in sight. To get a sense of how important an issue this is, consider
The historian Douglas Brinkley, who lives in
We could have saved the victims of the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe, but we didn’t. And now, more than 2 ½ years after the tragedy, we are still unable to lift the stricken city off its knees.
Other nations can provide health care for everyone. The
This is the pathetic state of affairs in the
So, how could this slide into paralysis as a nation with a deteriorating quality of life and a wasted economy be reversed? The congress in all its wisdom wants to bribe us with a small tax rebate to “stimulate the economy”. Forgetting that this plan has already been called basically dead on arrival, how logical is it? Reading Jim Hightower’s column in the March 21st issue of The Texas Observer puts the rebate in another light, especially in regard to our deteriorating infrastructure.
READY, SET, STIMULATE!
Well, they’re a bit late for most Americans, since the working-class majority sank deeply into recession long ago. There’s also a basic flaw in
Meanwhile, back at Ranchito
You want stimulation? Let’s invest our public dollars—and leverage trillions of private dollars—in a grassroots recovery program that will put millions of skilled laborers, entrepreneurs, inventors, small businesspeople, and others to work rebuilding America’s future. A good job at good wages doing good work beats a $600 check any day.
Jim’s proposal sounds like The New Deal put forth by Franklin Delano Roosevelt following the Great Depression. Part of that legislative agenda included creating the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The largest programs still in existence today are the Social Security System and Securities and Exchange Commission—the primary regulator of publicly traded U.S. firms. It is no coincidence this administrations focus on destroying these programs is putting us back into a recession we have yet to see the bottom of.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Monday, April 7, 2008
The Los Angeles Times reported on several aspects of the Iraq war. In an article entitled Officials foresee no ebb in Iraq violence reporters describe the continuing hopeless intractability of The Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld war. In another article in the same edition an American consultant describes a frustrating year in Baghdad trying to set up a development center. In the New York Times talks about the ways in which the recent confrontation with Sadr's militia has only added to the instability in Iraq. The Information Clearing House reports that the testimony of Gen. Patraeus and Iraqi Ambassador Crocker will be focused on indicting Iran as responsible for the instability in Iraq as a probable prelude to war with Iran. From all indications Bush, Cheney and their neocon followers will simply not give up on their plans to invade Iran. With the continuing failure of this war on the front pages of every major paper in the United States you would think that the Democratic candidates stand on extracting us from Iraq would be welcome news. Instead the mainstream media plasters John McCain's latest insinuation that leaving Iraq to settle it's own conflicts is somehow unpatriotic all over the front page. Thankfully Frank Rich in the Sunday NYTimes details the many ways that McCain's vision of Iraq is some kind of weird misinformed militaristic fantasy.
Also in the LA Times they talk about the what's in it for me aspect of the choices the Superdelegates have to make between Barack and Hillary. By the way the people who are Superdelegates are those who used to be called the Party Bosses who made decisions behind closed doors in smoke filled rooms. If you would like to see how the vote count of the Texas Super's are totally up take a look at Burnt Orange were so far Hillary Clinton has a very strong advantage. At Capital Annex Vince Liebowitz reviews the horrible state of health care in Texas as documented in the 2007 National Health Care Quality Report released by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality. In Rockwall County we can effect these disappointing statistics in two ways: 1) by supporting the charity work of the fine folks at Helping Hands who have a charity health care center and 2) by getting our own check ups and screening tests like Pap smears, mammograms, Prostate exams, colorectal screening etc. It is a shame that so many of us put these life saving tests off for years sometimes. The earlier any disease is detected the better the chance of a cure. A good example is colonoscopy where a polyp which is pre-malignant can be easily removed and prevent cancer from developing. Stop behaving like you were still children afraid of a shot at the doctor's office. Yes, like most adult responsibilities, it is always inconvenient and occasionally uncomfortable but keep in mind that we are talking about your life, not jury duty. And yes, I will get off my doctor soap box for now.
Glenda Denton, the Rockwall County Elections Administrator told me today that the turnout for the run off in the Railroad Commissioner's race in early voting was dismal. As disappointing as that is I can understand why; there just wasn't much of a way to distinguish between the two candidates, given their meager budgets and lack of media coverage.