Sunday, February 28, 2010

19 representatives in the House voted to maintain the antitrust law in favor of insurance companies

On February 24th 2010, 19 representative in the House voted to maintain the antitrust law in favor of health insurance companies in the United States. 19 against 406. Here are their names:

Brady (TX)
Broun (GA)
Franks (AZ)
Garrett (NJ)
Jordan (OH)
King (IA)
Moran (KS)
Price (GA)
Ryan (WI)

I have absolutely nothing else to add, this speaks for itself.

Oh one more thing actually: while people die every month because they are denied coverage, the top 5 health insurances companies in the US made a combined profit of over 12 billion dollars in 2009 only.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Letter I wrote to Olympia Snowe today about health care proposal and reform

I can appreciate what you posted about the fact that you didn't want to support the health reform because the 400+ amendments that were submitted didn't get a chance to be heard. They have to do with issuesas important and meaningful as coverage and preventive care for women, preventive tests etc. We all understand that these are important.

However, I just want to say that as much as every single one of these amendments deserves a chance to be heard, they ultimately are too specific (relatively speaking) compared to the greater issues that the reform is tackling and would resolve if passed.

I am urging all senators to pass this reform now and to find a separate way for the content of these amendments to be considered in a different step so that it doesn't compromise some of the more global aspects we are dealing with. Call them something other then amendments if you have to.

The great issues in the health reform that we should focus on include elimintating the abuse of the private insurances companies, dealing with the fact that the current health system is not financially viable and preventing people from dying. 10s of thousands of americans die each year because they don't have health insurance. We are in the worst social crisis in this country since the 30s. 10s of thousands of americans loose health insurance every day.

They may die if this doesn't pass.

A lot has been compromised to please the republican side already and to take into account budget constraints. The public option was dropped very early on in this debate to disappoint many and the reform went from a version covering 58 million more americans to 31 million. How many more people have to die and how much more has to be compromised in this reform?

Monday, February 22, 2010

How many more people must die?

Reconciliation may be the way for this health reform. Democracy is failing us. Tens of thousands of people are dying every year because they don’t have health insurance and our current system is not viable anymore, it’s costing $8000 per person. We simply need to do something yesterday. The reform as it is proposed today already has an obscene amount of compromises for the republican side already but it's never enough.

They say that the reform in the senate was presented on wednesday for a vote the following saturday when there were months prior to that were the debate was open. Opponents didn't debate cause they were too busy playing the media and deploying strategies to make anything democrat look bad.

For the Republicans and the moderate senators, the reform already went from coverage for an additional 58milion to 31 million and the public option was dropped very early on in the debate. There is nothing socialist about the version of this reform whatsoever. It is just a common sense reform.

There were 400+ additional amendments that didn't get considered for this reform in December 2009. They all deserve to be considered, but they need to be handled separately from the reform itself. Give senators opportunities to submit amendments after the reform passes. Call the amendments something else. Whatever it takes. The big principles of this health reform cannot be compromised because of amendments that relatively speaking are pertaining to details. Anything is 'detail' compared to the fact that tens of million people die each year and that citizens of this country get denied health insurance while the top 5 insurance companies have made a profit of 2.2 billion, which is 56% higher in 2009 then 2008. How much abuse will we allow in this country?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

the health reform bill and the legislative process

The health reform currently being debated is complicated. You have to follow every little detail to understand the stakes and even then you can easily get confused (which, I suspect, some senators are, especially if they decide to obstruct regardless of the content, and don't read the proposed reform surrendering to partisanship and re-election fever).

So many aspects of the health reform bill are intertwined and the legislative process format to vote a reform in Washington isn't appropriate for the complexity of the issue.

Last December, the version that passed had over 400 amendments proposed in the senate, many of which didn't get considered. You can argue that it is not democratic, but the problem is the urgency of the situation doesn't permit that we consider every single amendment at this time. We can always look at them later and call them 'revisions' on specific aspects, not amendments.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bring some cancer patients that are denied coverage and that will die because of it this year to the senate room or to the House if you have to

Here is a letter I sent to the White House and to a number US publications today
in reaction to the obstruction of the health reform by folks that haven't
even read the bill

The health reform currently being debated is complicated. You have to follow every little detail to understand the stakes and even then you can easily get confused (which, I suspect, some senators are, especially if they decide to obstruct regardless of the content, and don't read the proposed reform surrendering to partisanship and re-election fever).

We should focus on only a few very general principles and aspects of the reform, and pass that.

This reform is not about abortion, nor is it about one specific health condition versus another. This reform is about a number of flaws in our current system.

I have asked myself many times which aspects I would “cherry pick” if I could only pick a few that I would like to see fixed. As hard as it is, I have picked only two at this time:

1)the fact that health insurance companies can pick and choose who gets denied coverage based on pre-existing conditions
2)the fact that our system is not financially viable and is deepening our Nation's deficit

Forget everything else. I know it's excruciating. But really. Forget everything else for now and just fix that. These two aspects have nothing to do with partisanship.

If the democrats have failed at one thing: they have failed at communicating very very simply on some aspects. They must “de-complexify” the issues (I know it's not a word), and they must let republican folks know that tens of thousands of people are gonna die because they are denied health insurance and they will continue to die each year if this is not fixed today. Hell, bring some cancer patients to the senate room or to the House that are gonna die this year because they don't have coverage and can't afford it. Make them testify. And then turn around and ask republicans that are more worried about making their political party look good. Bring the mother of a child that is about to die because she and the dad can't pay for coverage. Make her testify and then ask them with a straight face if they think that it is ok for this child to die because Washington is more worried about the politics.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My electronic letter submitted to the White House today

I submitted this today in response to Obama's State of the Union Speech.

"Great speech but I would like to suggest something that you have omitted: outsourcing is the number one problem. It is killing jobs that will never come back.

we need to charge penalties to companies that do. It's the only way. We can't compete with the cheap workforce in India and Asia and even if they double their salaries overseas, they will still stay way more competitive. On a given market, if one company outsources to cut costs, other companies are forced to do so. This needs to end and it will not end without government intervention and regulation."

By the way, Obama reads ten letters a day according to this lovely video:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

R.I.P. (if you can) Tedd Kennedy

Tedd Kennedy's Senate seat went to a Republican today.

The truth about all this is that it's a political cycle. Last time a president enjoyed the majority for his full term at the house and the senate was in the eighties. It was actually in 1980 because it was Jimmy Carter whose mandate ended in 1980.
Political analysts try to make it all about that this Scott Brown victory is a defeat for Obama. It's truly not. Obama was having high expectations for this country and for the world. He is being forced to play this political game, to campaign for little senate seats instead of campaigning for peace around the world. By the time he sided with Martha Coakley for this Massachussets seat, they already knew that it was too late unfortunately. I just don't think that he ever realized that he was going to have to lower himself to that petty level of politics. And it is not what he excels at.

It just doesn't happen that way anymore where a president enjoys the majority of his party in the house for his full mandate, and it's been that way in the entire western world. It's now all about coalition which makes it hard to accomplish anything. A US president nowadays only passes 50% of his reforms in the senate during his mandate.

The saddest part about all this is that our taxpayers' money is being thrown away. An imperfect but decent health reform was about to pass and provide justice to 34 Million Americans, now it's going away and we have to start from scratch and pay senators and legislators all over to make it happen. With the partisanship that is currently ruling Washington, it may take months and it's a waste.

But it raises a real question: how can we make bipartisanship work anymore. Barack Obama's been trying to push for that kind of political consciousness.I encourage you to seek some inspiration in 1972: president Nixon at the time was campaigning for bipartisanship and good judgement over petty politics in his State of the Union:

This speech really resonates today. I wonder why...