The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Western Tribune column September 23, 2009 Public Option

This is my Western Tribune column for September 23, 2009. As I have said before, it's nice when the media and pop culture combine to produce videos that support my views.

Here's the column:


There are many reasons to support health care reform with a public option and here are three of the most obvious.

The constitution supports it.

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, 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, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

It would be hard to say that the “general welfare” of our country is not promoted by our government assuring that everyone has access to affordable, quality health care.

It’s the Christian thing to do.

Many faith traditions support caring for the sick but for Christians this should be a no-brainer. Jesus spent a lot of time and devoted many words to healing the sick and advocating for the unfortunate. The story of the Good Samaritan and others remind us that we are to care for others – we are our brother’s keeper. We should help to shoulder the burdens of others and this is what a public option would do. Medicare for all is a good way to put it.

A public option is the only way to bring down insurance costs.

Remember, insurance companies exist for one reason – to make a profit, which they do very effectively by collecting premiums and denying coverage.

Here is the total compensation for several insurance executives for 2008.

Ron Williams – AETNA, $24,300,112; H. Edward Hanway – CIGNA, $12,236,740; Stephen Helmsley – UnitedHealth Group, $3,241,042; Phillip Pope – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, $2,950,000; UnitedHealth Group deserves special mention because in 2005 their CEO, William McGuire, received compensation totaling $124,774,000. That’s 124 million dollars and it takes a lot of guts to make that kind of money off of the illness (and sometimes denial of treatment) of Americans.

Can we honestly expect the “for profit” insurance companies to police themselves and bring down costs? Of course not. A public option managed by a not for profit government agency is the only way to assure cost reductions and fair coverage for all Americans.

Those who argue otherwise might want to review the Constitution and the Bible and reconsider. Otherwise they are just as much to blame as the CEOs who are robbing the American people at the expense of the uninsured and under insured. And that could be any of us.

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As if on cue, Will Ferrell, John Hamm and Linda Cardellini and others made this video as celebrities weigh in on the health care debate. from Funny or Die.




And former insurance executive turned whistle blower Wendell Potter shows up on Bill Maher's Real Time, which we finally got around to watching last night.


20 comments:

beverly j. said...

1. Health care is NOT a right, it is a privelege. Taking money from those who have it to provide healthcare to those who don't is a crime, plain and simple.

2. The story of the Good Samaritan is about our personal responsibility of how we are to treat others. It is not about stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.

3. As much as it sucks, this is America, the land of opportunity. If someone can make a zillion dollars and can find a legal way to do it, then more power to 'em. I have BCBS insurance. It is wonderful insurance. It has provided for me and my family for years. I work hard. I have a good job. I pay my premiums.

While I agree with you that prices are high, stealing from the rich to provide for the poor is NOT the way to do it.

Joe said...

Beverly, I agree with you. Stealing from the rich is not the way to do it. However, no one is talking about stealing. That is a right wing conservative extemist term used to confuse people.

Do you consider it stealing that we provide care for Veterans? for the elderly? Just asking.

Do you think the "poor," to use your classification of all people who are without insurance or are under insured, should be left in the street (or their homes) to die? Do you not understand that their treatment is what drives premiums up?

rev. bill said...

Oh good heavens Joe, YOU are the one listening to the likes of Rachel Maddow. Tell me, when was the last time you saw someone in Bessemer "left in the street to die?"

Obama's plan, which many many economist have said over and over again cannot be paid for, will tax those making good money at a much higher level in order to attempt to pay for this plan. THAT my friend is STEALING. If you take my hard earned money to pay for healthcare for somebody who doesn't have enough gumption to get a job, then YOU ARE STEALING from me.

But hey, it's okay. Even if by some miracle this plan passes (which it won't) it will fail miserably and will mean the end of liberaistic government that we have right now.

You need to get your head out of the sand, stop believing everything that msnbc tells you, and look at the real issue.

Anonymous said...

That commercial is a joke. Propoganda! 80% of Americans DO NOT support this plan. We do need reform, but you cannot blame this situation on Insurance Execs. They are simply doing business. Where is the commercial about cig execs or beer execs whose products cause the death of millions of people every year?
Unreal!!!!

Joe said...

OK Bill I will type this real slow. Then you can read it real slow and maybe learn and understand something. After my sentence about "left in the street to die," there was another sentence. "Do you not understand that their treatment is what drives premiums up?" In effect, the insurance companies are "stealing," to use a term you might understand, from me to pay for the (more expensive) treatment they get by using the emergency room for uncontrolled diabetes than preventive treatment and counseling they might get with insurance. And another thing...these are not poor people. Poor people are covered by Medicaid. These are people who have lost their job or for some other reason are under insured. Your reasoning just ignores these people,calling them "without gumption".

Plus your statement about higher taxes is a lie. A lie, Bill, and you call yourself a Christian. 10 commandments.

Joe said...

In June, before the teabaggers started their lies, 70 -80% supported the public option, many polls show that.


Now, 73% of doctors support it (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112818960) and 50-70% support it depending on the poll

Joe said...

And here's a poll from late August (after the teabaggers) where 79% support a public option.

lipscomb bohemian said...

rev bill....i have no idea at what church..if any...you are called reverend but it certainly is not a compassionate one. you are simply uncaring and greedy....ask god if you want to....and...i wouldnt have had insurance for a big part of my life but for the va....and i have always worked....my wife didnt have any for years ...simply because we could not afford it and she has always worked. your logic concerning any thing i have heard you ever say about humanity is so out of wack with both reality and with what christianity stands for...or did... that it is unbelievable. im glad mother teresa didnt think as you do. your head isnt though in the sand...its clearly somewhere else.....i have never heard you say a kind word.

Joe said...

John,
Take a deep breath. Now...exhale.

Try this three times.

Do you feel better?

Now, go back to your computer, retype the comment, without using all capitals. Then it might, just might, get posted.

john from hoover said...

oh whatever Joe...you an idiot. It is my post. I'll type it any way I want. You didn't post it b/c it was in all caps and you know it. You failed to post it because it is the TRUTH.!!!!!!!

Ben Mason said...

Joe, Wake up! Obamacare will be stealing half a trillion dollars from Medicare. So it is okay for all the elderly to die on the streets of Bessemer and other places. Pul-eeeze!

Joe said...

Ben, there is enough fraud and waste is Medicare to fund it, or at least a lot of it, without cutting any benefits. No elderly dying on the streets of Bessemer under Obama's plan.

Dianne said...

Joe,
Please read what the Wall Street Journal had to say about Blue Cross of Alabama. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203440104574409501904118682.html If that link does not work, search on Blue Cross Alabama WSJ

Do you know why Alabama has 92% of it's children insured? It's because of Blue Cross's program for children. There is no way the government could do the job BCBS does more efficiently. They would be starting from scratch. I'm not sure how health care reform became insurance reform.

Joe said...

Dianne,
No one has said the govenment wants to do BCBS's job. They just want to offer competition, and an option for those who BCBS (and others choose not to insure.

And you are giving credit to BCBS for the children's insurance program? It's funded by the government (CHIP), through the Alabama Dapartment of Health (government) and only administered by BCBS. It's not something they came up with. It's a government program!

randy said...

Why can't you dems understand that it is not the govt's job to 'offer competition. If the government wants to help, they should outlaw cigs and alcohol which we KNOW causes health issues. Gov't has no reason to be in the healthcare business, especially when they are using money from individual taxpayers to pay for healthcare for those who don't even have a job.
It's stupid.
Great post Dianne

Joe said...

OK Randy, let's do it your way. Sorry Dianne, the 92% of children will no longer have insurance because Randy just removed the source of funding. Dianne, if you are the Dianne I think you are, I am pretty sure that your parents had medicare during their golden years. But, Randy just took that away too, so you had to pay for their care. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Joe, Those people that write what they do here, are really horrible. What christian would think of throwing people out or probably calling them bums could also practice worshipping GOD or JESUS??? I always thought that thier way was for helping all people, rich, poor, or homeless. Do the christians here in Alabama only want to help people overseas and neglect their own. Does that get them closer to heaven, I think not. I'll pray for them since they can't seem to pray for themselves and ask for forgivness for being heartless.

Drew said...

The gubment can't even run healthcare on Indian Reservations. They have a saying in most Native American communities "don't get sick after June or your screwed".....after June there is no more funding. How does the government think it can possibly fund care for ALL Americans? How? I have yet to hear anyone explain how. The republicans want the plan to be posted to the internet so everyone has a chance to read it before it goes to a vote. The dumocrats are fighting it! Why? They want it to be pushed through before anyone knows what hit them, thats why! No wonder Chavez praised obama at the General Assembly!

donny said...

To Anonymous - this is not about being CHRISTIAN. Good heavens!!! We are talking politics. There is not a person on here that would not help an individual if they needed help. But that is not what this issue is. The issue is GOVERNMENT CONTROL over HEALTHCARE. It is a scary situation and it is boarderline COMMUNISM. It is. Plain and simple. I am a Christian. I help, and give, and do for people all the time. But don't bring Jesus into this issue. This is not about being Christian. That is quite a stretch but I know where you get it from.

Drew, the dems don't WANT the real, true, red-blooded, patriotic Americans to have a chance to read this before they FORCE it on us. THEY KNOW what it best for us. THEY (gov't) can handle it. Let's just TRUST them!

....whatEVER

Joe said...

I love how we keep hearing from the teabaggers and commenters how we were founded as a Christian nation and then when christian principles are brought up they scream this is not about being christian. I can't get my work done I'm laughing so hard.