Blue Shield Cares — About What?

Hairdresser

Wendy Block: My criticism of Blue Shield (substitute Blue Cross or Aetna or…) is that the medical experts who know and have treated me for many years, got disgusted and finally left. My HMO doc gives me normal prescriptions and orders routine lab tests. But often, normal isn’t enough.

Democrats Never Had Sixty Votes; Sixty Votes Never Mattered

Obama Massachusetts

Paul Hogarth: With Scott Brown now pledging to be the 41st vote to kill health care reform, Democrats cannot react by ramming through a bill before the Senate seats him. Republicans are not interested in governing; it’s time to pass a real bill through reconciliation.

Blaming the Left

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Indiana)

Randy Shaw: The Democratic Party is facing a voter revolt because it once again allowed its corporate wing to set its agenda. And while the media blames the left Obama and the Democrats either implement a progressive agenda and shape the midterm elections around populist themes, or face further electoral “upsets” in November.

The Last Big Question: Will Health Care Reform Be Paid For By The Rich or the Middle Class?

Public Option

Robert Reich: Some say the Senate’s excise tax is the only way to control long-term health care costs. Baloney. If a portion of the middle class loses their health care, they won’t get the preventive care that’s so crucial to containing long-term costs.

“Hands off My Medicare”: The Deadly Legacy of Social Insurance

Medicare

Colin Gordon: As the House and Senate hammer together the controversial health-care bill, a historian of the issue warns that the new law may be doomed by the American system of treating government benefits as bought and paid for.

Hypocritical Outrage: Why the Process of Engineering This Health Reform Bill Is No Uglier Than the Rest of Congress’ Handiwork

mitch mcconnell

Tanya Acker: Twice last week I was on panels with Republicans who expressed surprise about the “unseemly” tactics employed by Democrats in passing health care reform. The horsetrading was so “venal!” The process so “hyperpartisan!” Noble Americans, we should all be so very shocked! Well, not really.

A Year of Fall and Decline

sarahs-book

David Swanson: This year opened with the United States Supreme Court claiming further power to rewrite the U.S. Constitution, specifically by further opening up elections to the highest bidder.

No, No, Joe!

Lieberman-orderley

Jerry Drucker:
In his 2006 primary fight against Ned Lamont, No No Joe told the voters he was all for universal health care for all Americans and they needed him in office to push it through. (He must have meant ‘push it through the exit door.’)

Pass the Health Care Bill: Then Improve It

Healthcare_Collision

Peter Dreier: It is incredibly irresponsible for some radicals and progressives to call for killing the health care bill. It is important to push for changes that would improve the Senate version of the bill. For example, the House funding plan (a tax on families with incomes over $1 million) is much better than the Senate version (a tax on so-called “Cadillac” health insurance plans). That’s what the labor movement, liberal and progressive Democrats in Congress, pro-choice advocates, and others will be doing in hopes of putting a better bill on President Obama’s desk, as Harold Meyerson discusses in his latest Washington Post column.

Reconciliation Is Conventional, Not Nuclear

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia)

Richard M. Mathews: With the death of the public option in the Senate version of the health care reform bill, more attention is being paid to the budget reconciliation process. The House-Senate conference could bring back the public option, but a filibuster could still kill it. The reconciliation process would allow the bill to pass with a simple majority of 51 votes rather than the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster.

Healthcare Bill Cedes Too Much to Insurance Industry

Leeches

NNU and nurses will continue to work with the thousands of grassroots activists across the nation to campaign for the best reform, which would be to expand Medicare to cover everyone, the same type of system working more effectively in every other industrial country. The day of that reform will come.

My Blue Shield Experience Embodies Our Stupid and Wasteful Health Insurance System

GOP-Health

With a single payer system, one entity would coordinate everything. Eliminating the majority of paper-pushing companies and employees with their cubicle-bred mindsets (forget expertise!) could lead the way for Janet and other competent people to run things.

Hey, Hey, LBJ! What Kind of Bill Would You Kill Today?

At a Christmas party a couple weeks ago, back when it looked as if the Senate bill’s compromise would include the Medicare buy-in, a friend of mine told me that he predicted Harry Reid was gong to go down in history as the next LBJ. When I reminded him that the deal was not yet [...]

The Oligarchy Wins Again!

CEO

Something, anything, has to be done at some point to show that the Obama Administration is not just the latest group of good people with good ideas that are absorbed into a system that makes Hamid Karzai look like a clean government activist. The corporate money so clogs the arteries of our body political the whole damn thing is sclerotic, choked off from the life-giving oxygen of democracy.

Rationing Medical Care: Health Officials Struggle With Setting Standards

A triage training exercise at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Jersey in April 2005. (Stephen Chernin/Getty Images)

“The partisan attacks of the health reform debate have set back the public discussion of resource allocation in a very serious way by putting things in terms of ‘death panels’ or ‘it’s un-American to limit resources,’ as if American insurers don’t do that all the time.”

Senate Speech Heralds New Social Movement

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders

It is time for the health of human beings to prevail. It is time to end the insurance cartel. Please join us as we continue forge the movement that will win Medicare for All. Onward to single payer.

Slouching Toward Health Care Reform

Dead-in-the-water

Real reform has moved from a Medicare-like public option open to all, to a public option open to 6 million without employer coverage (still in the House bill), to a public option open only to those same people in states that opt for it, or about 4 million (the original Harry Reid version of the Senate bill), to no public option but expanded Medicare (the Senate compromise) to no expanded Medicare at all (the deal with Joe “I love all the attention” Lieberman).

Joe Lieberman Is “Unbalanced”

Lieberman

At the same time, senior Senate aides from both sides of the aisle report that while Lieberman has always been unpredictable and difficult to work with, it’s a trait that became magnified after he lost his primary challenge to Ned Lamont in 2006.

Senators, Thanks For Reminding Us Why We Don’t Like You

Lieberman-Plumber

If Washington is the place where “good ideas go to die,” as candidate Obama liked to say, then the Senate is the slaughterhouse. This white millionaires’ club where the biggest egos on Earth tell us how goddamn important they are has just screwed the middle class in this country — a middle class that is reeling after years of being beaten down by these Senators’ masters in private industry.

The Day the Democrats Died

rahm

But with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel bullying the Senate to cut a deal – any deal – just to save face, the pressure proved too much. Those who hoped Obama would use Rahm to strong-arm a liberal agenda were wrong. If the President really cares about “change,” he wouldn’t have his henchman dampen progressive spirits.

How a Few Private Health Insurers Are on the Way to Controlling Health Care

Little-healthcare

Without some mechanism forcing private insurers to compete, we’re going to end up with a national health care system that’s controlled by a handful of very large corporations accountable neither to American voters nor to the market.

Medicare in Crisis: The Devastating Impacts of a Corporate Health Care Bill

Pill-bottle

But now the dust is starting to settle, and the Congressional vision for health care in the U.S. is emerging. Instead of being “progressive,” it will amount to a massive, corporate-inspired attack on American workers, the elderly, and the poor.

Harry Reid and What Happened to the Public Option

Republican-option

I’m still not giving up. I want every Senator who’s not in the pocket of the private insurers or Big Pharma to introduce and vote for a “Ted Kennedy Medicare for All” amendment to whatever bill Reid takes to the floor. And if this fails, a “Ted Kennedy Real Public Option for All” amendment. Let every Senate Democratic who doesn’t have the guts to vote for either of them be known and counted.

The Black Men’s New “Little Black Book”

bill-releford

Changing the mindset of black men to see a doctor is a difficult one. Fear of doctors is tied to a vestige of slavery where black male illness was totally ignored. Distrusting doctors has a long history, even before the Tuskegee experiment.

An Open Letter to Harry Reid on Controlling Health Care Costs

Harry

Wrap these reforms together — a public option open to everyone (allow states to opt out of this if they dare), Medicare-negotiated drug benefits, no 12-year monopoly for new drugs, and a major squeeze on Medicare reimbursements for doctors — and have CBO score the savings. I guarantee you, the number will be large. Then you should dare anyone, Democrat or Republican, to vote against saving Americans so much money in years ahead.

Is Health Care a Human Right?

Eleanor Roosevelt

Since World War II the United States has gradually broadened its understanding of human rights for minorities, women, gays, and others. Is it not time to continue moving forward by now recognizing a right that most leading democracies and exponents of human rights have come to accept–the right to accessible and affordable health care?

Death Panels in Perspective

As a longtime resident of Wasilla, Alaska, I wonder if my hometown will ever escape its current association with partisan politics in the minds of people elsewhere. More specifically, will the American public ever be able to engage in an adult conversation about end-of-life medical issues? Too many people, it seems, don’t realize that death [...]

HR 3962 Passes After Generations of Americans Ignored

Last night, the House of Representatives passed the Affordable Health Care for America Act, H.R. 3962.  It’s being touted as a major step forward but for those who support Single Payer, it is anything but. From the house floor, Speaker House Nancy Pelosi called the passing of H.R. 3962, “an historic moment for our nation”. [...]

The Next Phase of Healthcare Apartheid

Public-Option

The official position of the California Democratic Party is unequivocally in favor of single-payer healthcare. And yet Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, did what she could to sabotage the single-payer position of her own party in her own state.

Another Great Swindle: Doctors, Hospitals, Pharma as Much to Blame as Insurers

Physician-Fee-Chart

While the health insurance industry’s immoral, amoral and, sometimes, illegal treatment of policyholders is an appropriate prime culprit and target in the current push for reform, the fact is that physicians, hospitals and drug companies are getting an undeserved pass by much of the media.

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