Tag Archives: Congress

Still Think Healthcare Works? Read This

My local newspaper, the Record of Hackensack, NJ has a story in its Tuesday edition that details exactly why this country needs serious healthcare reform. That’s serious, as in single payer at best, and public option at worst.

The story cuts through all the gibberish we hear from lawmakers talking nonsense about a government takeover while they line their pockets with money from insurance companies that brook no competition.

The story is about four-year-old Emily Santana from Lodi, NJ. She’s a typical child, except for this. She’s been the victim of a brain tumor, a stroke, and recurrent epileptic seizures. These illnesses taken together threaten the child’s life. At her doctor’s advice, Emily’s father, Tito, scheduled surgery for her epilepsy. Three days prior to the scheduled date, the surgery was canceled. Can you guess why? Tito Santana’s insurance company refused to pay.

Our knucklehead lawmakers in DC, the ones who get free medical care, don’t think people like Emily Santana exist. They would have the public believe that there’s not an insurance company in America that would deny a four year old child a life saving operation. Yet somewhere, there’s a bean counter that decided to do just that. The Record didn’t print the name of Santana’s insurance “provider”. I truly wish they had. What they did, in my opinion, is little short of child abuse.

There is, thank God, a happy ending to Emily Santana’s story. Thanks to a local crisis intervention center, the Community Resource Council, Emily now has insurance to cover the surgery that could cure her epilepsy. The Council’s executive director is a woman named Diana DiGirolamo. She is worth more than every insurance company in America, and every member of Congress who’s in the bag for the insurance industry.

She called and faxed and persisted until she got results. She also helped the Santana’s buy furniture, appliances, and a used car after Tito Santana sold all the family had to cover Emily’s expenses.

Diana DiGirolamo is an angel, but, as we all know, angels are in short supply. How many other people in America are being turned down for medical procedures they desperately need as the Congress debates whether or not they deserve to live?

Tito Santana delivers bread at night so he can be with his daughter during the day. He’s a quintessential hard working American, and he deserves better than to be told no by a faceless insurance company operative intent on wringing every last bit of profit from the premiums people pay.

Still think the current healthcare system works? Still think reform can wait? You tell me.

http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/myspace_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/yahoobuzz_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png
Did you like this? If so, please bookmark it,
tell a friend
about it.

Obama on Healthcare – Mission Accomplished? Politics and health

President Barack Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress was masterful on several levels, the first being political.

That doesn’t mean it was a triumph for those (like me) who want to see every American have access to quality healthcare. That, however, wasn’t the President’s purpose.

Barack Obama after healthcare reform speech
Barack Obama after healthcare reform speech

He wanted to make his position on reform clearer to many people who spent the summer being whipsawed by reports of death panels and socialism.

Whenever politicians speak these days, I try not to watch cable news coverage of what they’re saying. That means I was one of the few people who was happy Fox News chose not to cover President Obama’s speech. In fact, two minutes before it was scheduled to begin, I turned on C-Span, the one place where I didn’t have to listen to the endless spin that has become virtually all cable news these days.

Once the niceties were out of the way, I saw an extraordinary performance by this President. There was a point when he was describing the insurance exchange component of his plan that I thought to myself (with some dismay), “He’s throwing the public option under the bus”. But he didn’t. Instead, he looked to mollify those who oppose it by saying only 5% of Americans will use it.

Downplaying the importance of the public option wasn’t my favorite part of the speech, but if your goal as a progressive is in fact to see progress, that President Obama made Wednesday night. His invocation of everyone from Teddy Roosevelt to Teddy Kennedy to John McCain to Chuck Grassley was brilliant.

Brilliant, that is, if you want to get a bill passed.

Sad to say, the Grassleys, McCains, and other Republicans will likely avoid the hand of bipartisanship as extended by Barack Obama. They’ve got an election to contend in 2012, and a healthcare reform bill championed by Barack Obama and passed this year would all but doom their chances at running a competitive race. They still think they can channel all that rage they saw at town hall meetings last month into something that will maintain the status quo. That’s why Cong. Joe Wilson yelled out “You lie!”  in response to Obama’s assertion his plan won’t cover undocumented immigrants. Universally condemned, this fool couldn’t apologize fast enough.

So what does President Obama’s speech mean to hard working Americans who worry about health coverage for themselves and their families? Hope, I would think, not the hope that comes from advocating a universal, single payer plan, but hope nonetheless.

As for Republicans, don’t expect more than two or three to back the Obama plan in the Senate. I think he’ll still have to play hardball to get it passed, but pass it and sign it he will.

What do you think?

http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/myspace_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/yahoobuzz_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png
Did you like this? If so, please bookmark it,
tell a friend
about it.

Did Empty News Cycle Cause Obama Speech Controversy?

By the end of Tuesday, President Barack Obama will have spoken to the nation’s schoolchildren, and hopefully the auto-generated mess it created will be history. It was quite something to behold, the President wanting to tout education to young people, and conservatives going bonkers. So how exactly did all this happen?

Well for one, Congress was in the last week of its summer recess. For whatever reason, the healthcare debate that roiled the nation most of the summer died down just a little. Low and behold, there’s wasn’t much for media to talk about. At least as far as media was concerned. Then came manna from heaven. The letter describing the president’s back to school speech contained a seemingly simple request. It asked teachers to have students write to themselves about how they might assist the President.

To some, this was red meat. In an otherwise dead news cycle, it was even better for conservative media.

Jim Greer, Florida’s Republican Party chair, condemned the President’s “use of taxpayer dollars to indoctrinate America’s children to his socialist agenda.”

Jim Greer
Jim Greer

Then the piling on began. Some right wing radio and TV hosts urged parents to keep their kids home from school so they wouldn’t hear the speech. It’s as if they thought Barack Obama would be wearing a dashiki and talking to kids about reparations.

Is making the most of your time in school a socialist agenda? Is standing as a role model to show that yes, any American can be president indoctrinating schoolchildren? But hey, there wasn’t much else to talk about, and in some quarters, anything that hurts President Obama is a goof thing. Just ask the Glenn Becks, the Sean Hannitys, and the Rush Limbaughs of the world.  And for what?

Even if you argue that the letter Education Secretary Arne Duncan sent contained some vague, unclear language, there’s no excuse for using children as a political weapon.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan
Education Secretary Arne Duncan

But that’s just what happened. It will continue until Americans demand that more be done during periods when there’s little breaking news (BTW, have you seen what passes for breaking news on cable news channels lately?). It will also continue, sadly, until the President realizes just what and who he’s up against, and that compromise with many of his enemies (not opponents) isn’t possible. They’ll keep coming until Barack Obama makes them fear his wrath.

And now we all know they’re not above using children. We’ve asked time and time again whether there’s been some defining event that will make this President take the gloves off.

My question to you is, are we there yet?

http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/digg_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/reddit_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/stumbleupon_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/delicious_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/google_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/myspace_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/facebook_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/yahoobuzz_48.png http://www.markrileymedia.com/wp-content/plugins/sociofluid/images/twitter_48.png
Did you like this? If so, please bookmark it,
tell a friend
about it.