Meditational Glow


The Incomparable Jimmie Beeee!!!!

... but just call me Jimmy Be

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Meditational Glow

"Obamacare" lives another day! The U.S.A. can make universal healthcare work!

From what I've heard in bits and pieces this late Tuesday afternoon is the latest fake replacement for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is dead. (That's the full name of the law nicknamed "Obamacare"; I wish the press and public would remember that and use it instead of simply “affordable Care Act.”)

I'm glad the latest haphazard Republican attempt at reform is dead, the second failure to "repeal and replace" this year.
Republicans in Congress were never serious about a real replacement that helps people, including their constituents back home. What they came up with, the American Health Care Act, couldn't even get a vote in the House a month ago. It would have made health insurance less affordable or simply unavailable for millions. In other words, so much for "Affordable Care." Also "Patient Protection" would have been reduced.

House Republicans passed 56 straight-up repeal bills they knew would fail in the Senate. Republicans didn't start talking about "repeal and replace" until after the partial government shutdown orchestrated by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in October 2013. The shutdown failed in its goal of killing funding for the PPACA. As it turned out — this was not reported until the shutdown was under way — the shutdown had no effect on PPACA funding because that fell under the mandatory spending side of the budget. The shutdown affected only discretionary spending. In the meantime, according to reports issued after the shutdown ended, the shutdown cost the United States economy $24 billion.

I am moderately optimistic that the U.S.A. will eventually join the rest of the industrialized, democratic world (and a few Communist countries such as Cuba) and adopt a universal health insurance system. Maybe before I'm dead — I turn 65 on April 28. We're the only industrialized, democratic country left. The issue is not health care. American health care is great in general. The issue is access to affordable, unconfusing, comprehensive health insurance to pay for the care. Right now our health insurance system is an unwieldy Rube Goldberg contraption that costs one-third to one-half more and provides less coverage to policyholders than the costs in countries that figured out universal health insurance decades ago. Germany pioneered universal health insurance for all 134 years ago. You people who get insurance through your work that's paid mostly by your employer? That's a German innovation, instituted in the 1880s.

The book pictured at the top, “The Healing of America,” provides an excellent overview of how the rest of the world reformed healthcare and health insurance, and compares it to our system. The author, journalist T.R. Reid, traveled to Europe, India, Japan and Canada researching their health care systems and lays out the positives and negatives. The book was published in 2009 as Congress was still working on what became the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The book was updated in 2010 to reflect changes brought about by the law.

But a universal insurance/health care system won't happen here until Americans collectively change their thinking in several areas:

1.) Ditch the concept that the "rugged individualist" is king. That's fine when describing one person's individual adventures like mountain climbing, but that mindset has bred selfishness and an attitude that providing help to "the commons" (many of us collectively) breeds laziness and complacency. It's an attitude that leads to cuts in programs for the poor, the sick and the old who need temporary help when budget deficits need to be cut, but military spending is not affected. ("The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one or the few" is more than just a great line from "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.")

2.) The "free market" is not sacred. Nothing wrong with capitalism as a concept or in trying to make a profit, but it's a system that tends to breed greed and selfishness if not regulated. I don't object to for-profit health insurance companies, but they need to be strongly regulated as to medical services they must cover and the minimum percentage of the cost they must pay. My experience so far is that even under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, my coverage is still a hodgepodge and a mystery until after I get unexpected bills.

3.) Conservatives need to ditch the notion — most often dog-whistled and hinted at but sometimes expressed outright — that "liberal," "socialist" and "Marxist" are always synonyms. I picked up on this early in Barack Obama's presidency on right-wing talk radio (secular and Christian) and in speeches by Republican politicians. (Likewise, liberals need to ditch the attitude that “conservative,” capitalist” and “greed-head” are always synonyms.)

4.) The Constitution does NOT declare either capitalism or socialism as an official "ism" for the United States. We need a mixture of both.


Liberals have called themselves “Progressives” for a long, long time. “Progressive” signifies moving ahead, progress, accomplishing new goals based on different ideas. From what I’ve observed from the right over the last eight years, — not only on health insurance reform — I’ve got a nickname for conservatives: Regressives. I hope I’ll see an attitude shift on issues vital to everyone and I can stop using the term.


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