Monday, February 18, 2008

The Need for Health Care Reform and Reality

I cringed when President Bush said there was no health care crisis and muttered inane nonsense about poor people going to the emergency room if they had a serious problem. President Bush, in many ways of course, did not invent the health care crisis. He merely stood by and did nothing as he has so often done during his presidency. For 27 years, our country has been drifting toward the lowest common denominator on issue after issue simply because powerful Republicans backed by wealthy donors have the money to buy the best pollsters, the best image and the best liars.

Kevin Sacks of The New York Times has an article on research that shows what so many of us already have the common sense to understand: the lack of insurance is dangerous to people's health:
A nationwide study has found that the uninsured and those covered by Medicaid are more likely than those with private insurance to receive a diagnosis of cancer in late stages, often diminishing their chances of survival.


The widest disparities were noted in cancers that could be detected early through standard screening or assessment of symptoms, like breast cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer and melanoma. For each, uninsured patients were two to three times more likely to be diagnosed in Stage III or Stage IV rather than Stage I. ...

I'm going to make a confession: we need health care reform badly but so much damage has been done to our country in the last 27 years, and particularly in the last seven years, by the right wingers and their noise machine, I'm not even sure that health care reform is even going to be possible in the next ten years. Whoever becomes the next president will have an obligation to look at the real state of our nation as soon as Bush leaves. It could be ugly. We have problems that are not only coming but that have already arrived. If John McCain is elected, the problems will continue to get much worse. In front of the camera, McCain is a nice guy but he has no idea where we are and no idea what to do. If Obama or Clinton become president, there's a good chance either one can stop the bleeding, but it will take the involvement of millions of Americans and particularly the young to turn our country around.

***For the record, neither my wife nor myself have health insurance. At our age, the insurance premiums alone would drive us into bankruptcy.

Campaign Update: Hey, give me your ears. Four score and seven days ago, Hillary Clinton was the 'inevitable' nominee.

Being inevitable is not what one expects of a Democrat. If I'm being too sarcastic, I apologize. These are hard times. We need to be inspired. Hillary Clinton is very capable but she is now reduced to criticizing Barack Obama about the trivial such as borrowing lines from his friends. The irony is that if Hillary Clinton were to take the high ground starting now and inspire people and continue until November, she would have a good chance of taking the nomination and winning the election. She's capable of inspiring people but has chosen a different course thanks to some odd supporters, including Republican pollster, Mark Penn (Isn't it odd by the way that Republican pollsters urge Republican candidates to be more folksy but urge Democratic candidates to triangulate?).

A reader on TPMElection Central points out an article that Molly Ivins wrote in 2006 explaining why she would not vote for Hillary Clinton for the nomination. Here's an excerpt that talks about leadership:
What kind of courage does it take, for mercy's sake? The majority of the American people (55 percent) think the war in Iraq is a mistake and that we should get out. The majority (65 percent) of the American people want single-payer health care and are willing to pay more taxes to get it. The majority (86 percent) of the American people favor raising the minimum wage. The majority of the American people (60 percent) favor repealing Bush's tax cuts, or at least those that go only to the rich. The majority (66 percent) wants to reduce the deficit not by cutting domestic spending, but by reducing Pentagon spending or raising taxes.

The majority (77 percent) thinks we should do "whatever it takes" to protect the environment. The majority (87 percent) thinks big oil companies are gouging consumers and would support a windfall profits tax. That is the center, you fools. WHO ARE YOU AFRAID OF?

If Hillary Clinton wins the nomination, I will support her but I don't pretend to understand her current campaign. Does she really understand where we are? We are at an historic crossroads. Does Hillary or Bill get it? I'm convinced that Barack Obama gets it. I'm convinced that young people supporting Barack Obama understand clearly that their future is on the line. From time to time our country has needed major reform. We are in such a time. The corruption and greed of the last 27 years has been hurting our country. We need change. So my support of Barack Obama remains clear and it remains strong.

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Barack Obama for President

Now that John Edwards has withdrawn and been appointed a saint of the Democratic Party after showing leadership and setting much of the agenda, I want the guy who can get out the vote. I've never seen so many young people come out for the primaries. There's now not much difference between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. If Hillary wins the nomination and the election, she'll do fine but the times are changing. So I want the candidate with coattails. If we're to get anything done, we need a healthy Democratic majority and a presidential candidate that can bring in help.

We're in a different era and we need a different candidate. A fresh face. A fresh view. I'm voting for Barack Obama in the California primary tomorrow.

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