Friday, September 4, 2009

Being for the People

""Do you mean to tell me that your position is more important than four hundred thousand black people's lives? Senator Humphrey I know lots of people in Mississippi who have lost their jobs trying to register to vote. I had to leave the plantation where I worked in Sunflower County, Mississippi. Now if you lose this job of Vice-President because you do what is right, because you help the MFDP, everything will be all right. God will take care of you. But if you take [the nomination] this way, why, you will never be able to do any good for civil rights, for poor people, for peace, or any of those things you talk about. Senator Humphrey, I'm going to pray to Jesus for you."

--Fannie Lou Hammer, Housewife turned Civil Right Activist

It appears that the public option is dead. My question to President Obama and Congress is do you think your positions are more important than the lives of 47 million uninsured Americans?


Marion said...

Judith, this just broke my heart. I've been uninsured for over two years and I have nightmares about losing everything my husband and I have worked our whole lives for if I become gravely ill. It's just not right. Are our leaders just empty hand puppets being moved at will by big money insurance corporations and greedy pharmaceutical companies? Sure looks like it....Blessings!

Judith Ellis said...

Marion - I have been crying off and on this morning. I do not personally know anyone who does not have health care insurance, save what you have just shared here, but my heart aches nonetheless for all of those who are without. It also aches for the ailing Americans in wheelchairs being screamed and yelled at by others in the town halls. What kind of country are we? I did not know what President Obama will say next week, but I am for sure that a speech alone will not do it.

President Obama’s hands- off approach does not seem to have been useful. By doing so I thought that he was allowing Congress to do its job, arising at a crucial time. But the reality is that we have no clear understanding of what HIS plan is. There’s a lot of talk about Obamacare but I have no idea what this is. It seems more like Congresscare and with all of their pockets lined with campaign financing from the health care insurance industry I can only imagine that there will not be any meaningful option.

I wish you and yours good health, my sister, my friend.

Marion said...

Thanks, Judith. I have to say I've been blessed with good health except for my bad back, thank God.

Why can't our country look at Canada, England or any other country that has national health care in operation as a model? How can it be so difficult when other countries manage to find a way? There has to be way! I pray for our leaders to have wisdom in this matter and to do something FAST! Blessings, sweet Judith!

Judith Ellis said...

Marion - I have no doubt that the administration has/is looking at the health care systems of other governments. Maybe a verison of the Swiss system is best where everyone has to purchase insurance, with the government subsidizing those who can't afford it. Health care insurance premiums are not based on income. Everybody pays the same. Along with this certain mandates should be included which insures no discrimination against pre-existing conditions.

I suspect, however, that with or without a public option, our system may not look like others. History and ideology seems to play a role in these decisions and a country where the spoils are not bestowed by kings may find it difficult to do so. Also, there is an allusion with regards to certain ideologies like "I don't want health care reform but take you hands off my medicare" that's astonishing.

The question is whether our government will work on our behalf and whether we can morally say to those without health care as one man essentially asked at a town hall to a woman "when did my rights become subservient to a woman in a wheelchair," as if she had no right to be there. My biggest problem is that I have not heard an honest debate, an honest discussion in the public square.

zorro said...

The public option debate seems silly to me. I heard an interview on NPR done with the author of a book that compares health care systems in about 20 different countries. In France (thought of as socialist by many) health care has no public option -it is all private. Costs are held down using regulations. They rate in the top 5as far as effectiveness goes. We just need to solve the problem. The public option is one way, but there are others. If we get no health care because there is no public option and progressives vote against it, we are back at square one. Which is exactly where Ted Kennedy put us when he opposed Richard Nixon's plan in 1972 and prevented a Republican from getting health care done. Why wasn't this author interviewed on 60 minutes? Why haven't Maddow and Mathews interviewed him?

CathM said...

Hi Judith. I just commented on Linda S. blog [] and I totally agree that the health system in the US really sucks. Even my sister who is a doctor in the US finds it so difficult to understand the injustice of the US health care system (especially as considered the LEADER of present Western civilization). I, someone who needs ongoing medical care, I am so thankful and grateful to have access to the NHS in the UK. I would probably be dead by now if I lived in some place like the States (as I probably wouldn't be able to afford medical insurance, etc). But, yes - the NHS system although it is not perfect and has its failings... is really far ahead many nations that fail to offer anything comparable. Thanks for opening up the debate!

Judith Ellis said...

Zorro - As you, I don't really care how it's done so as long as it's done and there are options for those without health care insurance to get it. The problem is our current private system is NOT working.

There are millions without health care insurance and many million more predicted to lose theirswith the rising cost of premiums, not to mention the lost of jobs.

With regards to Nixon, I have not seen or read anything that the Republicans are even offering, besides simply saying "no" for political reasons. I'm waiting to hear from moderate Republicans like Olympia Snowe.

Do you have the name of the NPR author?

Judith Ellis said...

Hi Catherine - It's good to see you. Yes, for me health care should not be based on whether you can afford it or not. But I am well aware that there are various ways of accomplishing this goal. There are many voices and I want to hear the rational ones to actually improve our system. It will undoubtedly not be a duplicate of any other. I'll pop over to Linda's blog. Thanks.

zorro said...

This isn't what I heard in the interview, but I found it at the NPR site looking for the author.

Form my reading of it, it appears Japan had a non-profit insurance option that is not government run.

Judith Ellis said...

Thanks, Zorro. I'll check out the site as well as do a little reading on Japan's system.

zorro said...

heres another link - its from npr and its about the french system -
its still not the interview I mentioned earlier, but its still interesting

Bob Foster said...

Judith - Senator Olympia Snowe has for some time been proposing a “trigger option” that allows a new government-run health care plan to go into effect if insurance companies fail to meet certain “affordability standards” with their own plans. Apparently, this “trigger option” is still on the table in the Senate, and also has the President’s interest. It is very likely that this may be the best we can get at this time.

It at least puts considerable pressure on private insurers to bring down costs. Actually, I can’t see the insurance companies meeting any reasonable “affordability standards,” so we may eventually get a public option after all…it just may take a little longer.

I still believe, as I said in a recent post, that the 1,017 page proposed House bill is simply too much for most Americans to absorb. It simply allows for radicals at each end of the spectrum to hype up the uninformed into mass hysteria. Somehow, Washington must explain—and sell—healthcare reform to the people on the street, not just Congress.

Judith Ellis said...

Thanks, Zorro. Will read.

Judith Ellis said...

Bob - Thank you so much. I really appreciate your words. One of the reasons I read your blog regularly is that you often have such thoughtful posts.

You bring up a point that has long been my concern: It is very difficult for insurance companies to have policies that are actually beneficial for its premium payers because the whole notion is profit.

Zorro believes that strict regulations will make health care insurance affordable. Okay, but it will probably also increase the number of lawsuits. The only problem here is who can pay lawyers and when we are talking about health care time is often of the essence.

I agree, Bob, that the length of the bill is by far too long and the real sale has not been to the public. As I've said before, we have really have yet to hear from President Obama.

By the way, I very much appreciate the rationale of Olympia Snowe. The "trigger option" is probably as you suggest going to be used more often than not, as it seems highly unlikely that insurance companies will change their policies that cut into their profits.