Wednesday, July 22, 2009


They're saying the first president to try and create a national health care plan was Theodore Roosevelt in 1912.

I know FDR tried to include it with Social Security and other New Deal measures that saved the poor of this country from facing the kinds of starvation and death faced by the poor in many other countries during the Great Depression and beyond and thanks to medical costs being relatively low then and many hospitals being charity organizations the health care crisis wasn't as bad as the other aspects of the Depression.

I know Truman tried again after FDR was dead to get Congress to enact a national health care plan.

I know that since then, several other presidents made motions in the same direction but were defeated or gave up before anything even made it to the table. And the deregulation under Reagan pretty much destroyed the old style charity hospitals and left health care to corporations whose main motive is profit and therefore skyrocketing prices (and bigger and bigger profits) leaving the poor to use dwindling emergency rooms that the rest of us pay for et-endlessly-cetera.

I know that Clinton tried and failed to enact remedies for all that.

Now comes Obama pushing harder than anyone in a long time, trying to learn from Clinton's mistakes, letting the Congress start the process, keeping it all transparent, disarming a lot of the corporate opposition by constantly reminding them of the financial toll being taken by health care costs now and if nothing's done they'll only keep rising, but being met with the same kind of fearsome opposition on the right, along with criticism from the left for not doing more!

[Somehow lost this paragraph when first posted: The point is, there is no way a plan I would like to see, or any of the commenters on this blog would like to see will get enacted, because we all have different ideas about what might work best. And there are those that don't believe something is better than nothing. We need those dissenters. I have often been one myself in my life. But at the place I am in my life now, after all the experiences I've had and witnessed, I believe that something IS better than nothing. That a start is better than a failure to begin at all. That accomplishing anything that alleviates even a fraction of the pain and suffering caused by the healthcare system we have now, which is one of the worst in terms of outcomes among so-called "industrialized" nations, is better than continuing with business as usual, which means an even more and ever worsening situation.]

For some of the best analyses of all this, check out RJ Eskow's contributions to The Huffington Post or see them on his own blog, the link is on the list of some of my favorite blogs and sites to the right under A Night Light.


JIm said...

The first requirement of a health plan should be to do no harm. Nothing proposed by Obama or previously implemented by Romney, Hawaii and George W. achieved that. All have failed or are in various stages of failure. Nothing in exchange for a system that delivers excellant care for 80%+ of the population without rationing and with personal choice sounds much better than insolvency. Of the 15- 20% not covered, many are people who are in good health who choose not to spend the money or who are temporarily between jobs or are illegal aliens. The question of whether tax payers should pay for illegal aliens is a whole other subject.

Republican former Governor Romney brought universal health care to Massachusetts. Romneycare and a similar plan from Hawaii has already failed. The one from Hawaii has been cancelled and the Massachusetts plan is on life support. Obamacare is modeled on these failed plans. George W., another Republican, “Reformed” Medicare. The result is unsustainable and on the fast track to insolvency.

June 30, 2009
Romneycare and "Hawaii-care" - harbingers of Obamacare
Topics: Political News and commentaries

One of the early claims that helped push Romneycare through to law was the insistence by its supporters that Emergency Room visits would fall as more and more citizens became covered under healthcare insurance. Since ER care is far more expensive than a doctor’s care, it was thought that more people with insurance would ease the overcrowding of ERs as well as lower the overall costs of healthcare.
However, a flaw in this logic has been seen throughout the state. As more people became insured, more people demanded the care of doctors. These doctors became overloaded with patients and waiting lists for doctors got longer and longer. As a result, ERs in Massachusetts have not seen a downturn in visits. On the contrary, it seems that ER visits are actually on the upswing in the Bay State. In fact, in 2007 they were higher than the national average by 20 percent.
By Paul Detrick (Bio | Archive)

October 17, 2008 - 15:01 ET
A news brief on "CNN Newsroom" Oct. 17 said that Hawaii's universal health care program for children would be hit with the "budget ax."
The screen said "Hawaii's Budget Ax" and anchor Heidi Collins reported that, "For the past seven months it's been the only state in the nation to offer universal healthcare for
A Hawaii state official said that families were "dropping private coverage so their children would be eligible for the subsidized plan," according to the Associated Press.
"People who were already able to afford health care began to stop paying for it so they could get it for free ... I don't believe that was the intent of the program," Dr. Kenny Fink, the administrator for Med-QUEST at the Department of Human Services, said to the AP.

Unsustainable Medicare Spending
At a campaign rally in 2000. "It's time to reform Medicare." But as president, Bush was unable to deliver on that pledge, and Congress seemed disinclined to address the subject of Medicare either — even though projected spending growth is clearly unsustainable, thanks in part to the aging of the population. Spending on Medicare nearly doubled over the course of the Bush administration, hitting $431.5 billion in 2007, and the program’s financing is slated to run into major trouble by 2012. According to projections by the Congressional Budget Office, Medicare spending is expected to jump from 4 percent of the Gross Domestic Product in 2007 to 12 percent in 2050.

Butch in Waukegan said...

Early in his administration Bush argued “presidential prerogative” when we were refused any information about Cheney’s “energy task force”. (There are reports that maps of Iraq’s oil fields were laid out and discussed during these pre-9.11 meetings.)

If the proprietor and his readers think Bush's assertion was wrong, what say you all about Obama’s secrecy about health care? We should accept government secrecy now because . . . ?

White House declines to disclose visits by health industry executives

By Peter Nicholas , July 22, 2009

Reporting from Washington -- Invoking an argument used by President George W. Bush, the Obama administration has turned down a request from a watchdog group for a list of health industry executives who have visited the White House to discuss the massive healthcare overhaul.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington sent a letter to the Secret Service asking about visits from 18 executives representing health insurers, drug makers, doctors and other players in the debate. The group wants the material in order to gauge the influence of those executives in crafting a new healthcare policy.


As a candidate, President Obama vowed that in devising a healthcare bill he would invite in TV cameras -- specifically C-SPAN -- so that Americans could have a window into negotiations that normally play out behind closed doors.

Having promised transparency, the administration should be willing to disclose who it is consulting in shaping healthcare policy, said an attorney for the citizens' group. In its letter requesting the records, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics asked about visits from Billy Tauzin, president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America; Karen Ignagni, president of America's Health Insurance Plans; William Weldon, chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson; and J. James Rohack, president of the American Medical Assn., among others.

"It's extremely disappointing," said Anne Weismann, the group's chief counsel. Obama is relying on a legal argument that "continues one of the bad, anti-transparency, pro-secrecy approaches that the Bush administration had taken. And it seems completely at odds with the president's commitment . . . to bring a new level of transparency to his government.",0,2097209.story?track=rss

JIm said...

Hey Butch,
How about the Prez. inviting the head of the CBO to chit chat about his knock on the cost of Obamacare. Sounds like attempted intimidation to me. Maybe some Democrat will demand the release of the minutes of the meeting. Of course, that would, hopefully, be disallowed because of Executive Priveledge.