Ah, Let Me Be Frank…

August 19, 2009 at 3:16 pm | Posted in Barack Obama, Democratic Party, health care, Republican Party | 4 Comments
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Reader bones sent in this awesome rebuttal from Rep Barney Frank at a recent townhall: “Mam, arguing with you would be like arguing with a dining room table”

Thanks bones!


Left to Obama: Why Can’t You Be More Like Bush?

August 18, 2009 at 11:11 am | Posted in Barack Obama, health care | 12 Comments
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Looking for Taibbi’s article on the healthcare reform bill out this week and came across his latest blog post on Truth Slant:

“I’ll say this for George Bush: you’d never have caught him frantically negotiating against himself to take the meat out of a signature legislative initiative just because his approval ratings had a bad summer. Can you imagine Bush and Karl Rove allowing themselves to be paraded through Washington on a leash by some dimwit Republican Senator of a state with six people in it the way the Obama White House this summer is allowing Max Baucus (favorite son of the mighty state of Montana) to frog-march them to a one-term presidency?

To quote Method Man’s Calvin “Cheese” Wagstaff character from The Wire, “This is some shameless shit right here.”

First of all, the fact that he quotes The Wire is amazing.  Second, who would have predicted that 8 months into his term Obama would be making Bush look good?  For all the vitriol directed at the former president for acting like a cowboy-bully in the White House, it’s ironic that the left is  asking Obama : Why can’t you be more like Bush?

But, politically speaking, I wonder how productive it is for Democrats to rail against their party as weak or afraid of its own shadow.   Is it really what’s best for the party?  And could it do more harm than good? I hestitate to step into the echo chamber and agree with the cricitism of democratic weakness because it usually perpetuates a talking point whose origin can usually be traced back to the RNC.   Democrats will never be billed as the strong, united party when its accused as being weak at the faintest sign of a flinch.  But, the Dems do need a kick in the butt.  They are dropping the ball on healthcare reform by letting the Republicans control the debate.  Remember this death panel rumor was one they should have been prepared for.  For the sake of the party and healthcare reform, dems need to be told grow a backbone — without being call spineless.

old news but worth reminding:

August 17, 2009 at 10:04 am | Posted in health care, Republican Party | Leave a comment
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From Krugman:

National Health Service has problems, but over all it appears to provide quite good care while spending only about 40 percent as much per person as we do.

British Conservatives Voice Support for NHS

August 17, 2009 at 9:52 am | Posted in Barack Obama, health care | 2 Comments
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From TPM:

The American right wing’s attack on the British National Health Service is now getting a strong rebuke — from the British right wing, who are joining in on the Twitter campaign of Britons proud of the NHS.

Among the many British politicians, journalists and Twitter users chipping in to debunk the attacks on the NHS is now Conservative Party Leader David Cameron, who is heavily favored to win the next election and become Prime Minister. He’s now blogged in support of the pro-NHS Twitter campaign:

People still care about the issues they care about, and thanks to the internet they can voice their concerns whenever they want. Just look at all the support which the NHS has received on Twitter over the last couple of days. It is a reminder – if one were needed – of how proud we in Britain are of the NHS.

Millions of people are grateful for the care they have received from the NHS – including my own family. One of the wonderful things about living in this country is that the moment you’re injured or fall ill – no matter who you are, where you are from, or how much money you’ve got – you know that the NHS will look after you.

“I support the NHS 100% and the Conservative Party supports the NHS 100%,” he told the BBC. “We are the party that gives the biggest amount of support to the NHS. It is incredibly important to my family. It is incredibly important to this country.”

Cameron’s reassurance that the Tories support their country’s socialized health care comes after one of his party’s members of the European Parliament bashed the NHS and called it a “60 year mistake.” Cameron declared: “He does have some quite eccentric views about some things, and political parties always include some people who don’t toe the party line on one issue or another issue.”

August 14, 2009 at 11:14 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

“the hole they stitched up in Glenn Beck’s ass hasn’t healed enough for him to stop talking out of it.”

2nd time’s a charm?

August 14, 2009 at 9:29 am | Posted in Barack Obama, health care | Leave a comment
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Team Obama (which now includes an unusual coalition of progressives, labor and the pharmaceutical industry) launched its response to the anti-health care reform movement yesterday:

The ad is planned to air in key swing states, with big pharma footing most of the $12 million bill.  But, is it too little too late?  PhRMA launched a similar multi-million dollar ad campaign last month to urge lawmakers to pass healthcare reform with most air time on the cable networks, CNN, MSNBC and Fox.  Didn’t seem to do the trick:

Weaver gets his intv with the Big O

August 14, 2009 at 9:01 am | Posted in Barack Obama | Leave a comment

Interviews from the streets of London: how Brits feel about their national health service (NHS)

August 8, 2009 at 5:13 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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It’s Getting Ugly

August 7, 2009 at 3:45 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Just received a MoveOn.org blast email ticking off the latest attacks from the anti-reform crowd:

  • Last night in Tampa, Florida, a town hall meeting erupted into violence, with the police being called to break up fist fights and shoving matches
  • A Texas Democrat was shouted down by right-wing hecklers, many of whom admitted they didn’t even live in his district
  • One North Carolina representative announced he wouldn’t be holding any town-hall meetings after his office began receiving death threats
  • And in Maryland, protesters hung a Democratic congressman in effigy to oppose health-care reform.

My Experience with NHS

August 7, 2009 at 2:35 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments

I’m working on another man on the street interview from London…asking Brits what they think of NHS (the UK’s national health service) and if they would prefer the US healthcare system instead.  Of the responses I’ve been able to get on camera so far, they are overwhelmingly positive.  So positive, in fact, that my report may end up sounding a bit one-sided, which is not my intention.  Now, I fear the conservative commenter wrath that will inevitably ensue on YouTube (ugh).  Anyway, while I continue to work on interviews and editing, I figured I could add some of my own experience with NHS since I moved to London.  Like most Americans exposed to anti-socialist rants on the poor quality of socialized healthcare, I was a bit wary and skeptical.   Would I be waiting in line for hours?  Could I trust the quality of care? Would the system be unnavigable and complicated?  Fortunately, my experience was quite the contrary.

Before leaving New York I had one week where I would be uninsured.  I took the risk figuring it was only a week and resolving to look both ways before carefully crossing the street.  The day after I finished at MSNBC, ending all claims to benefits, I received a call from my doctor that I would need an emergency procedure on a health condition I had been monitoring for about 13 months.  The procedure and the lab results would cost me over $800.  If they had only called a day earlier, I would have still been covered under my GE benefits.  Now I was paying almost $1,000 out of pocket.  The timing could not have been worse.  Anyway,  I got this procedure done and my US doctor advised me to get a GP set up right away in London who would then help me sort out the next steps for my second, follow-up operation.

When I got to the UK, I found that my local clinic was about a 6 minute walk from my flat.  I made an appointment in person (you can make them over the phone as well) and received a confirmation letter in the mail a few days later.  On the day of the appointment which was around 10 am, I walked to my clinic.  Most clinics have a computerized touch screen check-in.  You just punch in your date of birth and a message appears telling you that your doctor has been alerted of your arrival.  I sat in the waiting room for about 5 minutes before my doctor, not a nurse, came out to greet me.  He took me back to his office where he immediately began creating a computerized file on my health background, asking me questions about my last procedure and typing everything into my new record.   He forwarded that information on to the specialist I had to see for my follow up operation and advised me that I would be receiving the date and time of my next appointment in the mail shortly.  I then asked him about possibly seeing someone to talk to about moving to a new country and dealing with the stress of this health condition.  Instead of my doctor giving me a list of local therapists to call myself, he rang up a colleague to see if she had free time.  He arranged for a trial session on the spot.

A few days later I received the appointment time and date for my operation in the mail at a hospital a few blocks from my workplace.  The wait time there was a bit longer, perhaps 20-25 minutes.  The operaton lasted slightly longer than the one back home, but the doctor and nurse were incredibly friendly, and on the whole, the experience was a lot more pleasant than my October operation.  I’m fine now and have (just recently) paid off the $700 bill from nearly a year ago.

I’ll be honest, it feels a bit weird to open up about my health on this blog, but I felt it was important to share this after reading and watching some of the anti-healthcare reform initiatives spreading back home.  The system is efficient, provides satisfactory care and it’s FREE.  Totaling up everything I’ve had done since my arrival here, I probably would have had to pay around $2,000 back home, which explains the positive feedback from my man on the street interviews.  It’s hard to slag off a system that’s virtually free (all prescriptions are £6 and birth control is free).  Now, I don’t expect to convert any anti-reformers out there, but I do hope this post dispels at least some of the misconceptions  about government-run healthcare.

Stay tuned for the man on the street video…hope you enjoy it!

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