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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Thursday, August 9, 2007


A Health Care Plan No One Will Love

Okay, let's ask ourselves this one question: How are we going to solve the problems of 47 million Americans who don't have health care and another 100 million or so more whose coverage just isn't up to par? And, yes, I do know that a single Payer Universal health Care Plan is the best answer to the health care question, whether it be completely state-run, as it is in Great Britain, or through a hybrid government-private plan, such as Canada's.

Every Democratic presidential candidate has a plan to include most (Barack Obama) if not all (John Edwards) Americans in a national health care plan. They know that most of those who aren't covered today simply can't afford to cover themselves or their families no matter how much rhetoric President Bush and the 2008 GOP presidential field throw out there.

As government spending grows exponentially, geometrically (okay - I just wanted to use those big words) and by leaps and bounds, only the very rich - a.k.a. the Bush "base" of "haves and have mores" - seem to be benefiting from that growth. For example, in June, the government was responsible for 40,000 of the 132,000 jobs created. So, not only did more Americans lose their jobs in June (remember, it takes 150,000 jobs to keep up with the growth in population each and every month), but the American taxpayer - a.k.a. the middle class - a.k.a., us - have been stuck with the bill.

And it gets worse.

The GOP has their ideas for "fixing" health care in the US as well. But their "ideas" seem to be coming right from the health care insurers and financial institutes themselves. They include market-only based solutions and health savings accounts (HSA).The former would, as GOP hopeful Rudy Giuliani put it, place the "responsibility on the individual" for their own health care. Rudy's plan, much like many of the others and frighteningly similar to George W. Bush's, wants to give all Americans a $15,000 tax deduction so they could pay for their own health care. Rudy either forget, didn't know or just doesn't care that the average income for a family of four in our country is somewhere between $47,000 and $48,000 per year. Out of that money, they have to pay their federal withholding tax (Social Security), Medicare tax, State and Local taxes, real estate taxes and mortgage (or rent, if they don't own their own home), a car payment (or costly repairs if they have an old car), food (yes, we still pay for food) and much (if not all) of their own medical care and medicine. These Americans don't pay $15,000 in taxes (some pay no taxes at all) so how are they going to receive that much back as an "incentive"?

A real plan, as offered by many of the Democratic candidates will take time to get through Congress if one of them win in 2008. And rest assured (or uneasily), the health insurance lobby will be throwing their big guns at the prospect of losing their near-free ride. So here is what I propose:

1- If you have health insurance now through an employer, keep it until a SUHCP becomes reality.

2- Anyone who wants health care would be offered and basic health insurance policy in their home state costing no more than ten percent of their income, which would include income from capital gains. Similar to auto insurance (required in most states), a person would pay into a government run program and be assigned (as in "assigned risk" automobile policies) to a health care company by lottery. That company would be responsible to offer the insured one regular physical exam per year; emergency room care with a deductible; and a pharmacy plan with moderate deductibles on generic drugs and discounts on brands.

3- Whether they have a health care plan or not, every man, woman or child who comes down with a catastrophic illness would only be liable to pay for ten percent of their income until their medical bill is paid off. No more bankruptcy or death decisions will have to be made.

4- Regulation of the "usual and customary" charges made by health care providers trying to make up for the money they feel that they're losing treating those who truly cannot pay. The charge will be configured as no more than twenty-five percent over what a health insurance plan the provider participates in would have paid them had their patient been covered by that plan.

5- Allow employees at small companies whose management only offers them one health care option the ability to shop around for a plan better suited for them.

A national health care plan would allow many who wish to start their own business an avenue toward that path. Many who would take a plunge into ownership simply can't do it because they can't afford to take a chance on losing their health care. If the Republicans truly were for business, as they say they are, and having the "market" determine things like health care, they would embrace a program which would create more businesses, which would create more jobs that Americans will work for.

However, it appears that the GOP prefers the status quo, which allows big business and the health care companies (also part of bug business) the advantage they have today.

After all, it is their "base".

-Noah Greenberg

Most Unfavored

Getting linked up with Red China as a "most favored" trading partner, in conjunction with idiotic "free" trade agreements worldwide, stands high among the worst mistakes this country ever made--multinationalism and capital manipulation at its worst! Thank you, and go to hell, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George the First, Bill Clinton, and of course (King) George the Second. And now we have SIR Rupert Murdoch, with his Red Chinese wife, owning the Wall Street Journal.

China holds our capital, therefore they own us, and they know it. Does China have "the power to set off a dollar collapse "? You bet they do. They can blackmail us, as this threat clearly does. Read the below scenario, very similar to a terrifying movie made over 25 years ago, ROLLOVER, starring Kris Kristofferson.

I'm surprised that it hasn't happened sooner, but perhaps it had to wait for the most corrupt and incompetent administration in U.S. history, the most brainless President, and years of greedy Yuppie generation ideologues sitting in Congress.

-Jenny Hanniver

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-Noah Greenberg