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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

October 7, 2007

 

They Even Admit It!

The Bushies know that health care for all would actually reduce costs

I've written this one quote for three days now. And it's the quote that testifies to the FACT that the Bush administration knows that no health care for all actually costs more than no health care for some, not enough health care for others and great health care, as long as you can afford it.

"Denying healthcare to those in need only RAISES health care costs in the long run,"
-Kerry Weems, the Acting Administrator Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services , the guy who runs the S-CHIP program

But perhaps I took the quote out of context. here is the Original question, along with Weems response and my thoughts (the following is taken directly as a copy and paste from Ask the White House):

Wesley, from Fort Worth, Texas writes:
How much is health insurance for poor children expected to cost, after one year, after ten years? The government does not have a bottomless pit of money.

Madman, from the middle of New Jersey:
First, let me state that Wesley from Fort Worth, Texas is right. The government is not a bottomless pit of money. But why attack the children of the less than fortunate, Wesley? After the Florida hurricanes of 2004, President Bush couldn't wait to go down to his brother Jeb's state and hand out food and water to those who were doing without. President Photo-Op was there with the Fox News cameras (as well as others) in tow doing some manual labor that didn't involve the switch grass on his Crawford, Texas ranch for the first time... perhaps ever. Doesn't that food and water cost the American people money?
And what about Hurricane Katrina, who my Republican brother put in perspective for me when he said, "If Katrina had hit in 2004, President Bush would have lost in a landslide,"? Why are we providing any money at all to those hit hard by this natural disaster when they can simply move? As Barbara Bush put it, "And so many of the people (New Orleans refugees) in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them." Maybe they could have just stayed in the Astrodome as a sort-of new kind of public housing. The good people of Texas, like "Wesley", could have charged them rent while energy companies, such as Enron, could have charged them for the power the dome uses. And to pay it all off, the "underprivileged", as Mrs. Bush calls them, could have worked off their new debt as indentured servants to the wealthy people of Texas. Why, they could have even done some of those jobs that "Americans won't do," as the President likes to tell us. Maybe this could have actually been the solution to the immigration problem we have been searching for, and it's all thanks to people like Wesley and Barbara Bush.
But, perhaps Wesley meant to look at other areas where we spend our taxpayer money poorly. Like bailing out the insurance industry who got billions of dollars in "donations" by the federal government after the big 2004 hurricane season. Maybe I'm just not remembering correctly, but aren't our nation's insurance companies for-profit organizations who charge people whopping sums of money to cover them just in case a catastrophe like a Hurricane Francis occurs? What happened to all of that money anyway?
And what about American corporations taking advantage of tax laws which allow them to move their offices and factories overseas to avoid paying any taxes in the US at all, in some cases? What about those who "earn" their income - and it is income - by playing the stock market and paying taxes on their "capital gains" at a fraction of the rate that our middle class dollars are being taxed at? I guess only OUR American dollar has been devalued after all.

Kerry Weems
Investment in the current and future health care of America's low-income children is critical to the future of our nation. Not only is it this great nation's duty to take care of its most vulnerable citizens--low-income children, the elderly and the disabled--it doesn't make economic sense not to.

Madman:
And who makes the decision as to who can afford what? Sure people in the New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, etc., metropolitan areas earn more than their counterparts performing in other areas of the US, but it costs more to live there as well. So when Weems, and other Bushies say that families earning above the national medium income can afford to pay for their children's medical expenses, they are simply talking out of their asses. Sure, $45,000 might rent you a three-bedroom house in some areas of the United States, but you couldn't get a one-bedroom apartment within 60 miles of New York City for that sum.
So "low-income children" is a term with varied meaning in relation to one's circumstances. My own definition is any child of any family who can't afford to provide health care for their children, or any child who simply doesn't have enough health care provided for them for their needs.
Go on and try to find a private health care plan on your own. Then try and find one that will cover you when you, or your child has a pre-existing condition. Then tell me what you found.

Weems:
You are correct that government does not have a bottomless pit of money. However, denying healthcare to those in need only RAISES health care costs in the long run.

Madman:
Notice the Freudian slip that Weems makes here. "those in need" is the correct assumption here, not only "children in need" as the Bush administration would have you believe. In truth, health care for all will not only save money for those of us who pay taxes in the long run, but it will do so in the short run as well.

Weems:
Children who don't have access to regular, quality health care have more preventable illnesses, miss more school days due to preventable illnesses and have parents who miss work days to stay home with sick kids. Children who are denied routine well baby care can have illnesses that go undiagnosed and untreated until a crisis develops. Not only does the child suffer, but the expense of caring for a medical emergency for a preventable illness is exponentially greater. The question is not whether programs like Medicaid and SCHIP are vitally important to the health and economic future of the nation, that is without question. The issue at hand today is just how much support is the right amount of support for government to provide and how can we encourage the use of private market solutions.

Madman:
In true Bushie-logic, Weems is able to steer this health care argument towards what it means for business, as opposed to what it means for the individual. Kids get sick, businesses'' bottom lines suffer. The Bushies solution revolves around what they can get away with and still appear as if they care. In their view, "private market solutions" is key and if Congress came up with a "solution" that would have cost two or three times the $35 billion over five years program, that would have included Blue Cross, HealthSouth and the other health care giants in the equation, there can be no doubt that president bush would have jumped at it.
The proof is in their actions Seven billion dollars is roughly what it costs us each month in Iraq alone! And much of it is spent on private contractors who don't fall under any rule of law, as supplied by such firms as Blackwater. How can anyone doubt the obvious?

Weems:
The Bush administration strongly supports the reauthorization of the SCHIP program as well as the continued financial health of Medicaid for all the children in this country who depend upon them. What we want to see, however, is a return the SCHIP program's original goal of covering the lowest income kids first before considering adding other, higher income children.

Madman:
But, in fact, the SCHIP program as authorized by a veto-proof majority in the Senate and a near-veto-proof majority in the House does exactly what Weems wants it to do: It continues to provide for those who were covered by it before; and it will expand to include an additional 3.4 million Americans, most of which are children whose meager allowances won't afford them health care premiums, themselves.

Weems"
We will continue to work with Congress to reach an agreement over the future direction of this vital program.

Madman:
Let's face the facts here: If the President supported the SCHIP program, he would have signed the bill. Period. Nowhere in time has President Bush offered more than lip-service towards programs for the poor and those who cannot protect themselves. The "free market" taking care of everything are just empty words and hollow promises never to be kept or realized.

-Noah Greenberg
-----
As it appeared on "Ask the White House, without commentary:
Wesley, from Fort Worth, Texas writes:
How much is health insurance for poor children expected to cost, after one year, after ten years? The government does not have a bottomless pit of money.
Kerry Weems
Investment in the current and future health care of America's low-income children is critical to the future of our nation. Not only is it this great nation's duty to take care of its most vulnerable citizens--low-income children, the elderly and the disabled--it doesn't make economic sense not to.
You are correct that government does not have a bottomless pit of money. However, denying healthcare to those in need only RAISES health care costs in the long run. Children who don't have access to regular, quality health care have more preventable illnesses, miss more school days due to preventable illnesses and have parents who miss work days to stay home with sick kids. Children who are denied routine well baby care can have illnesses that go undiagnosed and untreated until a crisis develops. Not only does the child suffer, but the expense of caring for a medical emergency for a preventable illness is exponentially greater. The question is not whether programs like Medicaid and SCHIP are vitally important to the health and economic future of the nation, that is without question. The issue at hand today is just how much support is the right amount of support for government to provide and how can we encourage the use of private market solutions.
The Bush administration strongly supports the reauthorization of the SCHIP program as well as the continued financial health of Medicaid for all the children in this country who depend upon them. What we want to see, however, is a return the SCHIP program's original goal of covering the lowest income kids first before considering adding other, higher income children.
We will continue to work with Congress to reach an agreement over the future direction of this vital program



Spinning the Health Care Argument

I am constantly amazed at the false choices politicians present on health care. Consider this statement from Congressional representative Hensarling (R-TX):

“This is only the first battle in this Congress over who will control health care in America,” Mr. Hensarling said. “Will it be parents, families and doctors? Or will it be Washington bureaucrats? That’s what this debate is all about.”

Mr. Hensarling, are you nuts or an incredibly deluded ideologue? The battle is not between families and politicians; it's between families and private insurance companies. Politicians in Washington, DC elect to support one or the other. It's clear that Mr. Hensarling supports the interest of the insurance companies. But notice how sneaky he is about framing the issue so that private insurance companies are treated as if they are innocent bystanders.

Mr. Hensarling, who exactly do you suppose has the power in health care decisions these days? It's not families and it's not Doctors; it's private insurance companies who make health care decisions based on profit. How exactly is that good for America? A little socialized medicine will do us considerable good.

-Robert Scardapane



How Dare They

How dare people like Limbaugh and Coulter claim the patriotic "high ground" and seek to define as unpatriotic anyone who doesn't share their opinions, especially about this military misadventure and assault on our civil liberties? And why did we let them?

How can they even claim to be patriotic when they don't respect the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence, or the core values and dreams upon which the republic has been built? Upon which every American soldier in the Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, WW I and WW II fought, and Died.

How dare they criticize as 'unpatriotic' the soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan? Those soldiers believe they are fighting for us, for America, for the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and The Flag. Greenspan may believe they are fighting for oil, and he may be right, but that is not what we the people and the soldiers were told.

Whereas the ideologues of the right wing have demonstrated themselves irresponsible, devoid of ethics, compassion, and decency, whereas they have shown themselves to be corrupt, indecent, and dishonest,

Whereas they find impeachable one or two lies about personal private affairs but find nothing wrong with fraudulent justifications for WARS,

These self proclaimed "Culture Warriors" must be thrown down.

Rush Limbaugh. Ann Coulter. Bill O'Reilly.

-Larry Furman



A Work of Satire

Willie Randolph To Go To Washington.

Washington. Oct. 3. The Mets are sending Willie Randolph to Washington. Mr. Randolph will not be coaching the Washington Nationals baseball franchise, he will be managing the War in Iraq.

"There are winners and there are losers," President Bush said. "Willie Randolph is a winner on my team. And all the losers on anyone's teams can winners on my teams."

The President also announced plans to build baseball stadiums in the Middle East. "We will be building baseball stadiums in major Iraqi cities, including Basra, Baghdad, Mecca, Riyadh, and Tehran," President Bush said "to establish baseball in Iraq. We brought baseball to Japan after World War II, and then, 50 years later got Hideo-eki Chopsuey joined the NY Rangers." President Bush continued. "We expect that 50 years from now some kid named Omar, or Mohammed, or Christian, some kid from Baghdad, or Basra, or Kuwait will come from Iraq to play baseball for the Jets or the Patriots."

The Vice President, in an undisclosed location, is reported to have scowled and said "Baseball. As if I have time to watch men play a game. I've got a war to fight. Phones to tap. Health care to veto."

-Larry Furman



In response to the struggle for Democracy in Burma, Victoria Brownworth writes:

The only people who refer to Burma as "Myanmar" the name invented by the military junta, are members of that junta. So they made it illegal to refer to Burma as Burma; you ten years, just ask Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung Sung Suu Kyi.

The only country that refers to Burma as "Myanmar" is the U.S.

When we refer to Burma as "Myanmar," a name of repression and oppression, then we support the regime that invented it and which in the past month has murdered more than 500 people and imprisoned thousands of monks.

The pro-democracy movement in Burma calls the nation Burma. Those respectful of that movement do as well. Being casually snide about something so important to people who are risking their lives daily to speak the truth is utterly beneath Noah Greenberg. Only the Bush Administration acknowledges anything called "Myanmar." And I know that the Bush perspective is anathema to Mr. Greenberg.

Every time we say "Myanmar" we spit in the faces of those working to overthrow the junta in Burma. So let's not do it. Let's support Suu Kyi and her movement for democracy in the world's most repressive nation.


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-Noah Greenberg