US Congress passes health care reform bill huge victory for Obama

The Pulse: House passes health care reform

By Media Consortium Blogger By Lindsay Beyerstein

| March 22, 2010Last night, the House of Representatives passed comprehensive health care reform after more than a year of fierce debate. The sweeping legislation will extend coverage to 32 million Americans, curb the worst abuses of the private insurance industry, and attempt to contain spiraling health care costs.

The main bill passed the House by a vote  219 to 212, after which the House approved a package of changes to the Senate bill by a vote of 220 to 211. On Tuesday, President Barack Obama will sign the main bill into law. Then, the Senate will incorporate the House-approved changes through filibuster-proof budget reconciliation, perhaps as early as this week.

Landmark legislation

Last night’s vote was a resounding victory for the Democrats. John Nichols of The Nation compares the passage of health care reform to other great milestones in American legislative history, including the Social Security, Medicare, and the Civil Rights Act.

Like all great progressive victories, this one was hard fought. Paul Waldman writes in the American Prospect:

This effort will be remembered as one of the most anguished legislative battles in history, alongside the Civil Rights Act, the Federal Reserve Act, the creation of Medicare, and a few others. The positive outcome is not enough to restore one’s faith in the American political system, because the process did so much to destroy that faith. American politics has never been particularly reasonable or reasoned, but this debate saw a plague of demagoguery, fear-mongering, and outright lies that puts anything most of us can remember to shame.

Tea partiers slinging slurs

Months of inflammatory rhetoric about communism and death panels whipped the right wing into a frenzy. Opposition reached a fever pitch this weekend as tea partiers and other anti-reformers gathered in the Capitol. On Sunday afternoon, some House Republican legislators further inflamed the angry protesters by shouting encouragement from the balcony of the Capitol building, as Suzy Khimm reports for Mother Jones.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) chastised his colleagues for riling up the protesters, saying “It’s like the Salem witch trials—the health care bill has become their witch. It’s a supernatural force, and we’ve got hysteria.”

In separate incidents several anti-reform protesters hurled racist slurs at Democratic legislators. Brian Beutler relates this shocking incident for  TPMDC:

Civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and fellow Congressional Black Caucus member Andre Carson (D-IN) related a particularly jarring encounter with a large crowd of protesters screaming “kill the bill”… and punctuating their chants with the word “nigger.”

Standing next to Lewis, emerging from a Democratic caucus meeting with President Obama, Carson said people in the crowd yelled, “kill the bill and then the N-word” several times, while he and Lewis were exiting the Cannon House office building.

Adele Stan of AlterNet reported that one protester was arrested after spitting on African American legislator Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO).

The racial undercurrent to the anti-reform movement has been obvious from the beginning. The carefully coded language dropped away this weekend as protesters began to lose hope of killing the bill.

No public option…yet

To the chagrin of progressives, the final bill does not include a public health insurance option. However, going back to Mother Jones, Suzy Khimm reports that Rep. Lynne Woolsey (D-CA), co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus, promised to introduce a bill to create a strong public option as soon as Obama signs health care reform into law.

Stupak, stopped

As tea party protests raged outside, it seemed as if abortion might derail health reform. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) insisted that he had the votes to kill the bill. At the last minute, Stupak was placated with an executive order from the president reiterating that the health care reform would not fund elective abortions.

The executive order is a red herring. It won’t impose any further restrictions, it just restates the status quo. Mike Lillis posted a copy of the order at the Washington Independent. The president might as well have reiterated a ban on federal funds for vajazzling. Health care reform was never going to fund vajazzling or abortion, but if Stupak finds the repetition soothing, so be it.

The chair of the pro-choice caucus, Rep. Lois DeGette (D-CO) acquiesced to the Stupak compromise, describing the overall bill as a “strong foundation,” according to John Tomasic of the Colorado Independent. Pro-choice groups will be angry, but realistically, the executive order was the best possible outcome. For a while, it looked like Democrats were going to have to make substantive concessions to Stupak. In the end, he flipped his vote for a presidential proclamation of the status quo.

In a last ditch effort to derail reform, the Republicans tried to reinsert Stupak’s strict anti-abortion language into the reconciliation package. The Republicans were trying to poison the reconciliation bill in order to threaten its chances in the Senate, explains Mike Lillis of the Washington Independent. The gambit failed. When Stupak rose to speak against the motion, he was shouted down by Republican representatives. One unidentified member called Stupak a “baby killer.”

Bad with the good

Health care reform is not the progressive panacea that many had hoped for. The private insurance industry remains firmly in control, buttressed by government subsidies and no competition from the public sector. However, real changes are coming.

Within the next 6 months, children will be allowed to stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26. Lifetime benefit caps are history, and annual caps will be regulated. Insurers will no longer be allowed to dump customers who get sick, or offer coverage to children for everything but their preexisting conditions.

Going down in history

Whatever else Obama may accomplish, he will go down in history as the president who put the United States on the path to universal health care.  Skeptics said it couldn’t be done. Adele Stan observes in AlterNet:

It took the first African-American president and the first woman Speaker of the House to do what generations of politicians had failed to do: create a federally regulated health-care reform program that extends health insurance coverage to the majority of Americans.

Health care reform is not an end in itself, it’s a process. Passing this legislation is the first step towards establishing health care as a right of all Americans. Like any attempt to expand the rights of the disenfranchised, the struggle will be met with fierce resistance.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Pulse for a complete list of articles on health care reform, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets. Source

March 22, 2010

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama has scored the biggest victory of his presidency as Congress approved his signature health care reform bill, bringing near-universal coverage to a wealthy country in which tens of millions of people are uninsured.

The measure passed by the House of Representatives Sunday night represents the biggest expansion of the U.S. federal government’s social safety net since Medicare and Medicaid were enacted in the 1960s during President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration to provide government-funded health care coverage to the elderly and poor.

Although the bill does not provide universal health care, it should expand coverage to about 95 per cent of eligible Americans, compared with 83 per cent today.

The stakes could not have been higher for Obama, who has pushed health care as his top priority since taking office in January 2009. The issue was seen as pivotal to other issues on the president’s ambitious domestic agenda, including immigration reform and climate change legislation.

“I want to thank every member of Congress who stood up tonight with courage and conviction to make health care reform a reality,” Obama said. “I know this wasn’t an easy vote for a lot of people. But it was the right vote.”

The health care issue is likely to shape the November congressional election, when Republicans try to capture control of both chambers. Democrats will campaign on having overhauled a system that has made both health care and insurance unaffordable for many. Republicans say the bill will ultimately increase taxes and damage the quality of health care and has little public support.

Widely viewed as dead two months ago, the Senate-passed bill cleared the House on Sunday night on a 219-212 vote, with Republicans unanimous in opposition.

A second, smaller measure – making changes in the first – cleared the House shortly before midnight and was sent to the Senate, where Democratic leaders said they had the votes necessary to pass it quickly.

Congressional officials said they expect Obama to sign the main bill as early as Tuesday.

Obama will travel outside Washington on Thursday as he now turns to seeing the companion bill through the Senate and selling the health care overhaul’s benefits on behalf of House lawmakers who cast risky votes.

The president watched the House vote Sunday from the White House with Vice-President Joe Biden and about 40 staff aides. When the long sought 216th vote came in – the magic number needed for passage – the room burst into applause and hugs. An exultant president exchanged a high-five with his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.

Republican Senator John McCain said Monday morning that Democrats have not heard the last of the health care debate, and said he was repulsed by “all this euphoria going on.”

McCain, who was Obama’s rival in the 2008 presidential election, told ABC television that “outside the (Washington) Beltway, the American people are very angry. They don’t like it, and we’re going to repeal this.”

While national health care has been a goal of presidents stretching back decades, it has proved elusive, in part because self-reliance and suspicion of a strong central government remain strong in America.

After more than a year of political combat, debate on the House floor fell along predictable lines. Not one Republican voted for the bill. Some moderate Democrats also voted against it.

Most Americans receive private health insurance through their jobs as part of their benefits, but employers are not required to offer coverage. The government covers the elderly and indigent.

The health reform measure extends coverage to 32 million of the nearly 50 people in the U.S. who lack it and bans insurers from denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions. It would also usher in a significant expansion of Medicaid, the program for the poor.

Parents would be able to keep children on their coverage up to age 26. A new high-risk pool would offer coverage to uninsured people with medical problems until 2014, when the coverage expansion goes into high gear.

Under the legislation, most Americans would be required to purchase insurance, and face penalties if they refused. Once enacted, the measure would create a series of so-called “insurance exchanges” beginning in 2014 where self-employed people and small businesses could pool together to shop for health care coverage.

Republicans readily agreed the bill would affect everyone in America – it will have an impact on one-sixth of the U.S. economy – but warned repeatedly of that it will result in higher taxes and other financial burdens.

“We have failed to listen to America,” said House Republican leader Rep. John Boehner.

As the House met Sunday, a shouting band of protesters outside the Capitol dramatized their opposition, and one man stood up in the House visitor’s gallery shouting, “Kill the bill” before he was ushered out – evidence of the passions the yearlong debate over health care has stirred.

Obama’s quest to overhaul health care seemed at a dead end two months ago, when Republicans won a special election to fill the late Edward Kennedy’s Massachusetts Senate seat, and with it, enough votes to prevent a final vote.

But the White House, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid soon came up with a rescue plan that required the House to approve the Senate-passed measure despite opposition to many of its provisions, then have both chambers pass a fix-it measure incorporating numerous changes.

Source

They need the Public Option. It was the most important part of the the bill in the first place.

The politicians have it, so should all Americans. What a shame it was not in the final draft.

Republicans who wanted it eliminated use the Public Option.

Now they will have to tinker with what they have to make things right.

Millions of Americans have no health care coverage. Lets hope this helps at least some of them.

The US needs to eliminate “Lobby Groups” like the insurance industry or pharmaceutical industry……..

These types of Lobby Groups do not help the American people. They only help line the pockets of profiteers.

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Published in: on March 22, 2010 at 6:48 pm  Comments Off on US Congress passes health care reform bill huge victory for Obama  
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Mississippi in US calls on Iran for help with primary health care system

Deep South calls in Iran to cure its health blues
In ground-breaking project, one of America’s poorest communities is turning to the Middle East to try to resolve its crisis

By Christina Lamb
December 20 2009

As Marie Pryor shuffles along a Mississippi roadside collecting discarded drink cans to sell for a few cents, her breath comes in short puffs caused by a congenital heart defect. The same condition caused her granddaughter’s death earlier this year.

The last place on earth she would look for help is Iran, a country widely regarded in America as the enemy. The US and Iran have not had diplomatic relations for 30 years and the two governments trade daily insults over Iran’s nuclear programme. Last week Tehran charged three American hikers with espionage after they apparently strayed across the border.

But with Congress acrimoniously debating the reform of health care, it is to Iran that one of America’s poorest communities is turning to try to resolve its own health crisis.

A US doctor and a development consultant visited Iran in May to study a primary health care system that has cut infant mortality by more than two-thirds since the Islamic revolution in 1979.

Then, in October, five top Iranian doctors, including a senior official at the health ministry in Tehran, were quietly brought to Mississippi to advise on how the system could be implemented there.

The Mississippi Delta has some of the worst health statistics in the country, including infant mortality rates for non-whites at Third World levels.

“It’s time to look for a new model,” said Dr Aaron Shirley, one of the state’s leading health campaigners.

“Forty years ago, when I was a resident at Jackson hospital, I was in charge of admitting sick babies and was astonished at all the children coming in from the delta with diarrhea, meningitis, pneumonia.

“After years of health research and expenditure of millions of dollars, nothing much has changed.”

As the House of Representatives and Senate weigh the cost of President Barack Obama’s health reforms, Shirley points out that good primary care prevents people from ending up in hospital in the first place.

Besides, nowhere is the need for reform more acute than in Mississippi. The southern state has the highest levels of child obesity, hypertension and teenage pregnancy in the US. More than 20% of its people have no health insurance.

Baptist Town, where Pryor lives, is typical. A rundown suburb of Greenwood, the collapse of the cotton industry has led to massive unemployment. The local stores are a pawn shop, Juanita’s Beauty Salon and Bail Bonding, and an office offering “payday and title loans”.

Pryor’s son Kenneth and daughter-in-law Lizzie, who live with her, are both out of work and their only daughter died from her heart condition at the age of 26. With no local clinics or transport, they go to the hospital’s accident and emergency department if they need a doctor.

The idea of looking for solutions in Iran emerged when James Miller, a consultant based in Mississippi, was called in to advise a rural hospital in financial difficulty. He was shocked to find that the state had the third highest medical expenditure per capita, but came last in terms of outcome.

Miller, managing director of Oxford International Development Group, remembered a conference in Europe where Iranian officials had explained how their country had revolutionized its health care system.

Facing shortages of money and trained doctors at the start of the Iran-Iraq war in 1980, the new government launched a system based on community “health houses”, each serving about 1,500 people.

Locals were trained as health workers known as behvarz, who would travel their area, dispensing advice about healthy eating, sanitation and contraception as well as monitoring blood pressure and conditions such as diabetes.

It was a stunning success, reducing child mortality rates by 69% and maternal mortality in rural areas from 300 per 100,000 births to 30. There are now 17,000 health houses in Iran, covering more than 90% of its rural population of 23m.

Miller contacted Shirley, who is seen as a community health pioneer in Mississippi and had recently converted a deserted shopping centre in Jackson into a “medical mall” for the poor.

“I thought if the Iranians could do it with a fraction of resources we have, then why shouldn’t we?” said Shirley.

An Iranian doctor helped them make contact with Shiraz University, which manages more than 1,000 health houses and trains health care workers.

Shirley and Miller visited Iran in May and were astonished to be welcomed with open arms. When they went to remote villages to see the health houses, the Iranians were equally amazed.

“They told us this is a miracle,” said Miller. “Not only were Americans coming here, but also they were learning from us rather than telling us what to do.”

One villager exclaimed: “We always knew rain fell down but never knew it could fall up.”

They signed an agreement with Shiraz University to form the Mississippi/Islamic Republic of Iran rural health project and applied to the US Treasury for a special licence for “Iranian transactions”.

The next step was to win over communities in Mississippi. They started with Greenwood, where Shirley had already been in talks about setting up a local clinic.

Community leaders were shocked when he advised using Iran as a model. “To be honest, I wasn’t overwhelmed with the idea of copying Iran,” said Larry Griggs, the local fire chief. “It’s not exactly one of the most favourable countries to the US.”

They also had to overcome the legacy of distrust between blacks in the American south and public health officials after a series of scandals over medical experiments. The most notorious was the Tuskegee experiment between 1932 and 1972, in which 399 impoverished, black, illiterate farmers were left to suffer from syphilis even though penicillin was available. More than 100 died.

To sell the Iranian idea, Miller promoted it as “a health care model just like the Beetle”, pointing out that the popular Volkswagen Beetle had been conceived by the Nazi regime to show “good things can come out of somewhere not very popular in the world right now”.

The Iranian experts who came to Mississippi included two of the programme’s architects, Dr Hossein Malekafzali, a former minister who is professor of public health at Tehran University, and Dr Kamal Shadpour, the initiative’s co-ordinator in the health ministry.

The Greenwood community was convinced and leased a defunct car showroom for $1 a month for the first Mississippi health house, which is due to open next month. Fifteen Delta communities have expressed interest and Harvard’s School of Public Health will monitor the project.

Paula Gutlove, deputy director of the Institute for Resource and Security Studies, a US think tank, said there was a positive shock value to using an Iranian model. “The exotic nature of working with Iran makes it intriguing to potential funders and sponsors,” she said.

The first candidates from the Mississippi Delta are expected to be trained as health assistants in Iran this spring. If it works, Shirley hopes to extend the programme to the rest of the US. “Just as Mississippi was ground zero in the civil rights movement, so it can be for health,” he said.

Nonetheless, the Iranian connection poses a problem. Knowing that many Americans might be outraged, they have not spoken about the project. Even the governor of Mississippi is unaware of it. “We’ve been deliberately working under the radar,” said Shirley.

The programme chimes with Obama’s policy of engagement and his support of so-called “smart diplomacy”, using links between scientists as a way of breaking down barriers between countries. Following his speech in Cairo last June, aimed at reaching out to the Islamic world, the president has appointed three science envoys who will head to the Middle East next month.

“The Iranians are a proud people with 5,000 years of history and huge contributions to science and medicine,” said a State Department official.

“A project like the Mississippi one is incredibly powerful as it appeals to that Iranian concept of history. It’s a great way to keep the door open between the two countries.”

Gutlove points out that similar meetings between American and Soviet scientists in the 1980s helped pave the way for the end of the cold war. “What we did in the 1980s created lasting relationships which cut across the divide,” she said.

“It’s a win-win project,” said Shirley. “Not only do we finally have a way of addressing disparities in Mississippi, but also building relations between peoples.”

Source

Added This site on October 25 2011

Iran is a beautiful Country. Take the tour and decide for yourself.

The Iran you will never see on American Television

All I can say is “way cool”.

Iran has a lot to share with the rest of the world.

Such a pity they are always demonized.

If you know of anyone who wants to help please forward below information.

Gaza Freedom Marchers need your help to get into Gaza, Who is up to sending a few E-mails http://wp.me/p4271-1EJ

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Published in: on December 22, 2009 at 5:20 am  Comments Off on Mississippi in US calls on Iran for help with primary health care system  
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Healthcare reform without the Public Option is not Real Reform

Public option still plagues Dems

By Jeffrey Young
September 28 2009

The most controversial component of healthcare reform promises to vex Democrats the rest of the year.

The spotlight this week will continue on the Senate Finance Committee, where amendments to add the public insurance option will be offered by Democratic Sens. Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.) and Chuck Schumer (N.Y.).

The issue will also continue to be a battle in the House, where liberal and centrists Democrats are fighting over whether it should be included in a House healthcare bill.

The Finance committee votes, which could come as early as this week, promise to be discomfiting for both liberals and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the embattled chairman of the Finance panel who is likely to vote against them.

Baucus has personally signaled an openness to the public option but steadfastly maintains that it lacks enough support to pass the Senate, making it a pointless and politically volatile exercise to include it in his bill.

But it’s not going to be fun for Baucus – who’s been a punching bag for the political left — to join Republicans and vote against a Democratic amendment when the time comes.

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), the chief advocate for the not-for-profit healthcare cooperatives that are included in the Finance bill as an alternative, is also expected to vote against the Schumer and Rockefeller amendments. Liberals have rejected the co-op compromise out of hand.

Conrad and Baucus on Thursday joined Republicans on the panel in defeating an amendment that would have caused the pharmaceutical industry to pull its support for the bill. That’s a pattern that could be repeated.

Rockefeller, Schumer and likeminded liberal senators begrudgingly acknowledge the votes are not there in the committee for the public option.

But they intend to force their colleagues to take a stand on the issue and possibly face the wrath of powerful interests such as labor unions and grassroots liberal activists.

The vehemence of support for the public option among liberals can hardly be overstated. Rockefeller summed up that view on Thursday when he said, “A healthcare plan without a public option is not much of a healthcare plan.”

Schumer declared that he and likeminded liberals would triumph in the end. “The healthcare bill that is signed into law by the president will have a good, strong, robust public option,” he said.

More votes on the public option are promised once the bill hits the Senate floor.

The issue will then become a headache for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) instead of Baucus.

Before a healthcare bill even reaches the Senate floor, Reid will have to decide whether to abide by the Finance Committee position (no public option) or the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee position (strong public option).

Reid sent a clear signal that he is prepared to compromise on Thursday.

Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe’s (Maine), a crucial swing vote, has proposed establishing a “trigger” for the public option that would be pulled in markets with insufficient private competition. During a conference call with Nevada reporters, Reid described the trigger as a “pretty doggone good idea,” according to the Las Vegas Sun.

“My first choice is a public option, because I think it will create competition and make the insurance companies more honest,” Reid said. “My No. 2 choice is the trigger that Snowe talked about.” A trigger would be preferable to co-ops, Reid indicated.

In the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) isn’t having any easier a time despite having a large majority dominated by liberals. The centrist voting bloc, led by the Blue Dog coalition, is holding its ground against the public option.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) broke the deadlock on his panel over the issue in July by weakening the power of the public option in the bill but the deal did not survive the rocky August recess intact.

Pelosi insists time and again that the House bill will have a public option. She went to great lengths this week to sell it to the centrists but did not appear to make much progress.

Pelosi has also came out against the trigger option. “I don’t even want to talk about a trigger,” Pelosi said, describing it as “an excuse for not doing anything.”

It’s not clear whether Pelosi will have the votes to win a healthcare vote on the floor if the public option is not included in the bill. But it’s also not clear she’ll win a vote with the public option, since Republicans are expected to vote en masse against the bill.

There’s no easy way out of this predicament. To paraphrase one of President Barack Obama’s favorite sayings, if it were easy, somebody would’ve done it by now.

Source

CALL YOUR SENATOR. Demand a public option. (202) 224-3121.

There’s no public option in Senator Max Baucus’ Healthcare bill. Instead, we are forced to buy private insurance. This is a major step backwards for the healthcare reform movement! Watch the video and call your senator at (202) 224-3121.

Anyone who votes against the public option, is not who you want representing you.

The Public Option is needed. It will also go a long way to helping the 45 million who are not insured and those who are under insured.

Republicans are bought and paid for by Phrama companies and Insurance companies. Of course they will vote against the public option. Wouldn’t want to loose all that money.

When will Americans realize Republicans work for the  Corporations and  not for the people who elected them.

Of course some of the Democrat’s  may be just as bad.

On both sides they get tons of Cooperate donations, which of course, I call “bribes”.  Simply becasue that is what they actually are?

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Published in: on September 29, 2009 at 1:25 am  Comments Off on Healthcare reform without the Public Option is not Real Reform  
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The brutal truth about America’s healthcare

An extraordinary report from Guy Adams in Los Angeles at the music arena that has been turned into a makeshift medical centre

August 15, 2009

The LA Forum in Inglewood, California, hosted dental and medical examinations, for thousands of people thanks to the charity Remote Area Medical. Some waited, above, for 36 hours to see the medical staff

GETTY IMAGES; AFP

The LA Forum in Inglewood, California, hosted dental and medical examinations, for thousands of people thanks to the charity Remote Area Medical. Some waited, above, for 36 hours to see the medical staff.

They came in their thousands, queuing through the night to secure one of the coveted wristbands offering entry into a strange parallel universe where medical care is a free and basic right and not an expensive luxury. Some of these Americans had walked miles simply to have their blood pressure checked, some had slept in their cars in the hope of getting an eye-test or a mammogram, others had brought their children for immunisations that could end up saving their life.

In the week that Britain’s National Health Service was held aloft by Republicans as an “evil and Orwellian” example of everything that is wrong with free healthcare, these extraordinary scenes in Inglewood, California yesterday provided a sobering reminder of exactly why President Barack Obama is trying to reform the US system.

The LA Forum, the arena that once hosted sell-out Madonna concerts, has been transformed – for eight days only – into a vast field hospital. In America, the offer of free healthcare is so rare, that news of the magical medical kingdom spread rapidly and long lines of prospective patients snaked around the venue for the chance of getting everyday treatments that many British people take for granted.

In the first two days, more than 1,500 men, women and children received free treatments worth $503,000 (£304,000). Thirty dentists pulled 471 teeth; 320 people were given standard issue spectacles; 80 had mammograms; dozens more had acupuncture, or saw kidney specialists. By the time the makeshift medical centre leaves town on Tuesday, staff expect to have dispensed $2m worth of treatments to 10,000 patients.

The gritty district of Inglewood lies just a few miles from the palm-lined streets of Beverly Hills and the bright lights of Hollywood, but is a world away. And the residents who had flocked for the free medical care, courtesy of mobile charity Remote Area Medical, bore testament to the human cost of the healthcare mess that President Obama is attempting to fix.

Christine Smith arrived at 3am in the hope of seeing a dentist for the first time since she turned 18. That was almost eight years ago. Her need is obvious and pressing: 17 of her teeth are rotten; some have large visible holes in them. She is living in constant pain and has been unable to eat solid food for several years.

“I had a gastric bypass in 2002, but it went wrong, and stomach acid began rotting my teeth. I’ve had several jobs since, but none with medical insurance, so I’ve not been able to see a dentist to get it fixed,” she told The Independent. “I’ve not been able to chew food for as long as I can remember. I’ve been living on soup, and noodles, and blending meals in a food mixer. I’m in constant pain. Normally, it would cost $5,000 to fix it. So if I have to wait a week to get treated for free, I’ll do it. This will change my life.”

Along the hall, Liz Cruise was one of scores of people waiting for a free eye exam. She works for a major supermarket chain but can’t afford the $200 a month that would be deducted from her salary for insurance. “It’s a simple choice: pay my rent, or pay my healthcare. What am I supposed to do?” she asked. “I’m one of the working poor: people who do work but can’t afford healthcare and are ineligible for any free healthcare or assistance. I can’t remember the last time I saw a doctor.”

Although the Americans spend more on medicine than any nation on earth, there are an estimated 50 million with no health insurance at all. Many of those who have jobs can’t afford coverage, and even those with standard policies often find it doesn’t cover commonplace procedures. California’s unemployed – who rely on Medicaid – had their dental care axed last month.

Julie Shay was one of the many, waiting to slide into a dentist’s chair where teeth were being drilled in full view of passers-by. For years, she has been crossing over the Mexican border to get her teeth done on the cheap in Tijuana. But recently, the US started requiring citizens returning home from Mexico to produce a passport (previously all you needed was a driver’s license), and so that route is now closed. Today she has two abscesses and is in so much pain she can barely sleep. “I don’t have a passport, and I can’t afford one. So my husband and I slept in the car to make sure we got seen by a dentist. It sounds pathetic, but I really am that desperate.”

“You’d think, with the money in this country, that we’d be able to look after people’s health properly,” she said. “But the truth is that the rich, and the insurance firms, just don’t realise what we are going through, or simply don’t care. Look around this room and tell me that America’s healthcare don’t need fixing.”

President Obama’s healthcare plans had been a central plank of his first-term programme, but his reform package has taken a battering at the hands of Republican opponents in recent weeks. As the Democrats have failed to coalesce around a single, straightforward proposal, their rivals have seized on public hesitancy over “socialised medicine” and now the chance of far-reaching reform is in doubt.

Most damaging of all has been the tide of vociferous right-wing opponents whipping up scepticism at town hall meetings that were supposed to soothe doubts. In Pennsylvania this week, Senator Arlen Specter was greeted by a crowd of 1,000 at a venue designed to accommodate only 250, and of the 30 selected speakers at the event, almost all were hostile.

The packed bleachers in the LA Forum tell a different story. The mobile clinic has been organised by the remarkable Remote Area Medical. The charity usually focuses on the rural poor, although they worked in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Now they are moving into more urban venues, this week’s event in Los Angeles is believed to be the largest free healthcare operation in the country.

Doctors, dentists and therapists volunteer their time, and resources to the organisation. To many US medical professionals, it offers a rare opportunity to plug into the public service ethos on which their trade was supposedly founded. “People come here who haven’t seen a doctor for years. And we’re able to say ‘Hey, you have this, you have this, you have this’,” said Dr Vincent Anthony, a kidney specialist volunteering five days of his team’s time. “It’s hard work, but incredibly rewarding. Healthcare needs reform, obviously. There are so many people falling through the cracks, who don’t get care. That’s why so many are here.”

Ironically, given this week’s transatlantic spat over the NHS, Remote Area Medical was founded by an Englishman: Stan Brock. The 72-year-old former public schoolboy, Taekwondo black belt, and one-time presenter of Wild Kingdom, one of America’s most popular animal TV shows, left the celebrity gravy train in 1985 to, as he puts it, “make people better”.

Today, Brock has no money, no income, and no bank account. He spends 365 days a year at the charity events, sleeping on a small rolled-up mat on the floor and living on a diet made up entirely of porridge and fresh fruit. In some quarters, he has been described, without too much exaggeration, as a living saint.

Though anxious not to interfere in the potent healthcare debate, Mr Brock said yesterday that he, and many other professionals, believes the NHS should provide a benchmark for the future of US healthcare.

“Back in 1944, the UK government knew there was a serious problem with lack of healthcare for 49.7 million British citizens, of which I was one, so they said ‘Hey Mr Nye Bevan, you’re the Minister for Health… go fix it’. And so came the NHS. Well, fast forward now 66 years, and we’ve got about the same number of people, about 49 million people, here in the US, who don’t have access to healthcare.”

“I’ve been very conservative in my outlook for the whole of my life. I’ve been described as being about 90,000 miles to the right of Attila the Hun. But I think one reaches the reality that something doesn’t work… In this country something has to be done. And as a proud member of the US community but a loyal British subject to the core, I would say that if Britain could fix it in 1944, surely we could fix it here in America.

Healthcare compared

Health spending as a share of GDP

US 16%

UK 8.4%

Public spending on healthcare (% of total spending on healthcare)

US 45%

UK 82%

Health spending per head

US $7,290

UK $2,992

Practising physicians (per 1,000 people)

US 2.4

UK 2.5

Nurses (per 1,000 people)

US 10.6

UK 10.0

Acute care hospital beds (per 1,000 people)

US 2.7

UK 2.6

Life expectancy:

US 78

UK 80

Infant mortality (per 1,000 live births)

US 6.7

UK 4.8

Source

Health Insurance Abuses in US

The Health Insurance Racket: Getting Rich by Denying Americans Care

Obama fights Health Care Reform Propaganda

Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Published in: on August 15, 2009 at 1:47 am  Comments Off on The brutal truth about America’s healthcare  
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The Health Insurance Racket: Getting Rich by Denying Americans Care

The Health Insurance Racket:

Getting Rich by Denying Americans Care

UnitedHealthcare CEO Stephen Hemsley owns $744,232,068 in unexercised stock options. CIGNA’s Edward Hanway spends his holidays in a $13 million beach house in New Jersey. Meanwhile, regular Americans are routinely denied coverage for the care they need when they need it most. Welcome to the American health insurance industry. Instead of helping policyholders attain the health security they need for their families, big insurance companies get rich by denying coverage to patients. Now they’re sending lobbyists to Washington, DC to twist the arms of lawmakers to oppose reform of the status quo. Why? Because the status quo pays. Learn more about the glamorous lives of billionaire health insurance executives and tell us your story of being victimized by their greed.

Hundreds of entertainment industry workers in California and New Jersey who buy health insurance as a group are being hit with a rate increase that will raise some family-plan premiums to more than $44,000 a year.

There are also some Videos at the site as well as a bit of information on how much CEO’s make  a year.  They make millions while average folks die because of their greed.

Micheal Moores “Sicko” was enlightening and he also recieved hundreds and hundreds of stories of people being shafted by insurance companies. etc. That is just the tip of a massive Iceburg however.

Well there is more that people should know about and the above site has some rather interesting information and they too are looking for stories as well.

Senator Sanders is going to be speaking about healthcare reform on Thursday’s Senator Sanders Unfiltered

One might want to have a listen to what he has to say.

One of your friend may die or you may die or go untreated becasue Insurance companies rip you off by dening treatment or you may loss everything just becasue you are ill. You may not even be able to afford Insurance.

Get educated and get active to get Universal Health Care for everyone.

The life you save may be your childs, your wife, your parents or your best friend. You may even save your own life.

Obama fights Health Care Reform Propaganda

Move on. org is also involved
Right-wing mobs aren’t just disrupting congressional town halls—their outlandish lies are now making their way into mainstream news coverage, too.
We need to set the record straight. The majority of Americans support real health care reform. And no wonder, given the incredible cost of inaction.In the U.S., 14,000 people lose their coverage every day.1 And for those with insurance, yearly premiums will hit $22,000 in a few years if we don’t act.2
We can’t let right-wing extremists ruin the biggest opportunity in a generation to get real reform.Can you send a quick letter to the editor of your local paper about the urgent need for Congress to pass health care reform with a real public option?
Click here:


Our tool makes writing a letter really simple. You can send the letter right from our website—it only takes a few minutes.
If you’ve never written a letter to the editor before, now is the time to send your first. The letters page is one of the most widely read—and most important—in local newspapers. Members of Congress and their staffs read it to understand how their constituents are feeling. And since members are all home in the district this month—and paying close attention to the health care debate in particular—your letter will make an even bigger impact.

Here are some talking points specific you can use in your letter:

  • We can’t afford to wait for reform: Each day, 14,000 people in the U.S. lose their health care coverage. And without reform, those who still have insurance will see their yearly premiums go up by $9,000 in the next decade—to a staggering $22,000.
  • Reform with a real public option is key to expanding coverage: Under current legislation, which includes a strong public health insurance option, 37 million Americans will gain coverage by 2019.3
  • A real public health insurance option is crucial to lowering costs: With premiums projected to hit $22,000, we need to get costs down. By spurring competition, a public plan will help bring down out-of-control costs4 for individuals, families, and small businesses.
  • Can you send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, as part of our “Real Voices for Change” campaign? Just click here to get started:
    http://pol.moveon.org/lte?campaign_id=117&id=16801-6729775-L4VKDMx&t=4
    Sources:1. “Health Care in Crisis: 14,000 Losing Coverage Each Day,” Center for American Progress, February 19, 2009.
    http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51653&id=16801-6729775-L4VKDMx&t=52. “Health Care Premiums Run Amok,” Center for American Progress, July 24, 2009.
    http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51667&id=16801-6729775-L4VKDMx&t=63. “Coverage for America: We All Stand to Gain,” Families USA, July 2009.
    http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51751&id=16801-6729775-L4VKDMx&t=74. “Why We Need a Public Health-Care Plan,” The Wall Street Journal, June 24, 2009. http://www.moveon.org/r?r=51737&id=16801-6729775-L4VKDMx&t=8

    Published in: on August 13, 2009 at 5:53 pm  Comments Off on The Health Insurance Racket: Getting Rich by Denying Americans Care  
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    Obama fights Health Care Reform Propaganda

    Obama looks West, to the Web in health care fight
    By PHILIP ELLIOTT
    Aug. 12, 2009
    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is turning his eyes West and hitting the Web as he steps up his counteroffensive against critics of a proposed health care overhaul.

    Obama assailed “wild misrepresentations” of his health care plan Tuesday during a town hall-style meeting in Portsmouth, N.H., taking on the role of fact-checker-in-chief for his top domestic priority. It’s a strategy he will employ at two more town halls this week in Montana and Colorado, and on the White House Web site.

    To that end, the Obama-aligned Democratic National Committee is running health care overhaul ads nationally on cable channels and in spots the president will visit, joining a chorus of ads that has become a cacophony over a problem that has vexed Washington for decades.

    On the other side, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was joining the fray Wednesday, beginning to air 30-second spots in about 20 states criticizing the Democratic proposal to offer optional government health coverage, according to R. Bruce Josten, executive vice president of the nation’s largest business group.

    The multimillion-dollar buy would be one of the largest so far critical of Obama’s effort, in a year in which opponents have been heavily outspent by supporters of the president’s plan. The spot, showing a balloon being inflated until it bursts, says: “Big tax increases, huge deficits, expanded government control of health care. Call Congress.”

    In Portsmouth, Obama faced a polite crowd of 1,800 packed into a high school auditorium and a nationwide audience watching on cable television. He urged them not to listen to those who seek to “scare and mislead” on his plans to overhaul the nation’s health care system.

    “Where we do disagree, let’s disagree over things that are real, not these wild misrepresentations that bear no resemblance to anything that’s actually been proposed,” he said. “Because the way politics works sometimes is that people who want to keep things the way they are will try to scare the heck out of folks, and they’ll create boogeymen out there.”

    The boogeymen have prompted the White House to strike back. The president ticked off the highest-profile, most emotional issues that critics have used to greatest advantage to interrupt town hall meetings held by lawmakers home for the August congressional recess.

    For instance, Obama said the Democratic health care legislation would not create “death panels” to deny care to frail seniors — or “basically pull the plug on grandma because we decided that it’s too expensive to let her live anymore,” as the president put it. The provision he said had led to such talk would only authorize Medicare to pay doctors for counseling patients about end-of-life care if they want it, he contended.

    He also disputed accusations that he seeks a federally run system, or one in which the government makes decisions about care.

    Obama’s new message, sharpened amid sliding public support for him and his plan, targeted a vital and, polls show, particularly skeptical audience: the tens of millions of people who already have health insurance and aren’t yet convinced of a need to spend billions of dollars to change it or cover the nearly 50 million people who lack coverage.

    That message is finding reinforcements online. The White House launched a Web site to counter critics and asked supporters to share with them e-mails they say misrepresent Obama’s positions. It’s a tactic similar to the one the tech-savvy Obama campaign used to win the White House.
    Source

    Well I am quite sure the Insurance companies will be putting out all sorts of propaganda about Health Care reforms.  Wouldn’t want anyone cutting into their profits.  Insurance companies will do anything and everything possible to stop any changes to Health Care, including lie to people. Fear mongering at it’s finest. Considering how may people are without health care and how many are insured and still denied treatments, people should be a bit more intelligent then to believe the the propaganda being put out there.  Many countries around the world have Government run Health Care systems and the majority work just fine. Universal Health Care is something no one should be afraid of unless of course you are the one loosing profits like insurance companies. Imagine never having a problem getting treated for an injuries or an illness.  Insurance companies could care less if you live or die.  No one should be denied Health Care. Insurance companies should be removed from the Health Care system as far as I am concerned.  They only profit from the sick and helpless. You may pay more taxes for Health Care, but when you remove the payments to Insurance companies you will pay less in the long run.  Government run Health Care is cheaper then through insurance companies. Governments don’t need profit, insurance companies do.

    Health Care

    “I suffer no illusions that this will be an easy process. It will be hard. But I also know that nearly a century after Teddy Roosevelt first called for reform, the cost of our health care has weighed down our economy and the conscience of our nation long enough. So let there be no doubt: health care reform cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year.”

    – President Barack Obama, February 24, 2009

    Progress

    • The President signed the Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act on February 4, 2009, which provides quality health care to 11 million kids – 4 million who were previously uninsured.
    • The President’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act protects health coverage for 7 million Americans who lose their jobs through a 65 percent COBRA subsidy to make coverage affordable.
    • The Recovery Act also invests $19 billion in computerized medical records that will help to reduce costs and improve quality while ensuring patients’ privacy.
    • The Recovery Act also provides:
      • $1 billion for prevention and wellness to improve America’s health and help to reduce health care costs;
      • $1.1 billion for research to give doctors tools to make the best treatment decisions for their patients by providing objective information on the relative benefits of treatments; and
      • $500 million for health workforce to help train the next generation of doctors and nurses.

    Guiding Principles

    President Obama is committed to working with Congress to pass comprehensive health reform in his first year in order to control rising health care costs, guarantee choice of doctor, and assure high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans.

    Comprehensive health care reform can no longer wait. Rapidly escalating health care costs are crushing family, business, and government budgets. Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have doubled in the last 9 years, a rate 3 times faster than cumulative wage increases. This forces families to sit around the kitchen table to make impossible choices between paying rent or paying health premiums. Given all that we spend on health care, American families should not be presented with that choice. The United States spent approximately $2.2 trillion on health care in 2007, or $7,421 per person – nearly twice the average of other developed nations. Americans spend more on health care than on housing or food. If rapid health cost growth persists, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that by 2025, one out of every four dollars in our national economy will be tied up in the health system. This growing burden will limit other investments and priorities that are needed to grow our economy. Rising health care costs also affect our economic competitiveness in the global economy, as American companies compete against companies in other countries that have dramatically lower health care costs.

    The President has vowed that the health reform process will be different in his Administration – an open, inclusive, and transparent process where all ideas are encouraged and all parties work together to find a solution to the health care crisis. Working together with members of Congress, doctors and hospitals, businesses and unions, and other key health care stakeholders, the President is committed to making sure we finally enact comprehensive health care reform.

    The Administration believes that comprehensive health reform should:

    • Reduce long-term growth of health care costs for businesses and government
    • Protect families from bankruptcy or debt because of health care costs
    • Guarantee choice of doctors and health plans
    • Invest in prevention and wellness
    • Improve patient safety and quality of care
    • Assure affordable, quality health coverage for all Americans
    • Maintain coverage when you change or lose your job
    • End barriers to coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions

    Please visit www.HealthReform.gov to learn more about the President’s commitment to enacting comprehensive health reform this year.

    Source

    Don’t let Insurance Companies destroy the lives of people anymore.

    Universal Health Care is the way to go. Let the people win this one.

    All people rich or poor,  deserve Universal Health Care.

    Published in: on August 12, 2009 at 4:18 pm  Comments Off on Obama fights Health Care Reform Propaganda  
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    Auto workers rally in Jackson

    December 16 2008

    JACKSON, MS

    The debate over whether the big three automakers should be bailed out by congress was brought to the Mississippi capitol.

    United Auto Workers Union members marched through the capitol joined by state lawmakers and supporters. They voiced the opinion that if Wall Street was bailed out why not the automakers. The worry is that if Ford, GM and Chrysler aren’t given money from Washington the companies could go under and take thousands of American families with them.

    Robert Schaffer of the MS AFL-CIO says, “It’s getting to the point to where it’s fine for them to make decisions about everybody else’s welfare, but if we were in a situation where they were losing their jobs and they were losing their health care off those fat salaries in Washington DC. They would have a different out look on everything trust me.”

    A bill to bailout auto makers passed the house, but failed in the United States senate. President Bush and the white house says they are working on a plan-B that all sides can agree on.

    Source

    Canadian Governments willing to help Auto Industry

    Published in: on December 17, 2008 at 12:17 am  Comments Off on Auto workers rally in Jackson  
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    Pollution Costs Trillions Annually

    Fresh water pollution costs at least $4.3 billion a year

    December 1 2008

    By Shannon McAleenan

    Manhattan, KS

    Researchers at Kansas State University found that pollutants aren’t just bad for lakes and streams-they’re bad for American’s pocketbooks also.

    Walter Dodds, professor of biology of KSU says freshwater pollution impacts individuals on a level as basic as bottled water costs. If the municipal water plant has to spend more to treat water coming through the taps, that cost is passed onto consumer through water bills.

    “Monetary damages put environmental problems in terms that make policymakers and the public take notice,” Dodds said in a statement from KSU.

    The team of researchers looked at U.S. EPA data on nitrogen and phosphorus levels in bodies of water across the country-both these pollutants are applied to plants as nutrients. Most of these pollutants reach lakes and other water from various points, like runoff from row crop agriculture.

    The KSU team calculated the money lost from pollution by examining many factors like decreasing lakefront property values, the cost of treating drinking water and revenue lost when fewer people take part in recreational activities like fishing or boating. They found that freshwater pollution by nitrogen and phosphorus costs government, drinking water facilities and individual Americans at least $4.3 billion a year.

    “We are providing underestimates,” Dodds said in the statement. “Although our accounting of the degree of nutrient pollution in the nation is fairly accurate, the true costs of pollution are probably much greater than $4.3 billion.”

    The research appeared in the Nov. 12 online issue of Environmental Science and Technology.

    Human cost of valley’s dirty air: $6.3 billion
    By Mark Grossi
    November 13 2008

    FRESNO – There’s a new annual price tag for breathing dirty air in the San Joaquin Valley: $6.3 billion, mostly because more than 800 people die years earlier than they should.

    That’s more fatalities due to bad air than car accidents, said nationally known economist Jane V. Hall, who Wednesday released her latest analysis of poor air quality in this region.

    The dollar and death figures are nearly twice as high as Hall found in her first study two years ago, partly because stricter federal standards are in force. The new standards assume more people are harmed by bad air.

    But she also said new research indicates microscopic specks of soot and chemicals are more dangerous than previously thought.

    “There is a clearer consensus that lives are being shortened,” she said.

    The study, funded with a $90,000 grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, is intended to jolt residents, regulators and political leaders.

    Hall, a California State University, Fullerton, scientist, worked with researchers Victor Brajer and Frederick W. Lurmann on the study, which also covered the South Coast Air Basin.

    The study points out the continuing need to battle air pollution, said Seyed Sadredin, executive director of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. But he also said people still should understand air quality has improved.

    “Things are not getting worse. These bigger numbers are the result of a new standard,” said Sadredin. “But this study does give the valley good justification to advocate for more support in fighting air pollution.”

    The premature deaths and mounting costs are unacceptable, said Liza Bolaños, coordinator for the Central Valley Air Quality Coalition, a nonprofit group representing public health and environmental organizations.

    “We have the capacity to clean this up,” she said. “This is a wake-up call.”

    Hall and the other researchers said more than half the state’s residents – 20 million people in the valley and South Coast – are exposed regularly to unhealthy levels of ozone and particle pollution.

    The researchers combined the cost of breathing dirty air in both basins, arriving at a total of $28 billion. Health care costs and time lost at work are included in the total, but more than 80 percent of the cost is related to the value of the estimated 3,800 lives lost prematurely each year.

    Microscopic specks called PM-2.5, which are more prevalent in colder weather, are the biggest worry. Most of the region’s $6.3 billion cost is the value of people who die prematurely from exposure to PM-2.5.

    Fresno last year had 75 bad days for PM-2.5, Bakersfield had 68 and Visalia 64. In the north valley, Modesto had 39 bad days. This region is considered one of the worst in the state for such pollution.

    “In the San Joaquin Valley, 100 percent of the residents are exposed to fine-particle pollution at some time during the year,” said Hall.

    The PM-2.5 comes from many sources, such as diesel engines and fireplaces. But it also forms in the moist winter air when ammonia from dairy waste combines with vehicle exhaust.

    Fresno County residents suffer the valley’s biggest effects, with the loss of 212 people each year, valued at $1.4 billion, according to the report. The county also has the valley’s highest yearly total of non-fatal heart attacks related to air quality – 156. PM-2.5 pollution has been linked to heart disease.

    Hall and Brajer said the valley’s 823 annual air-related deaths occur about 14 years sooner than they should.

    The cost of each premature death is set about $6.7 million, a figure based on mainstream economic and federal studies of social value. Such figures have been used in economic analysis of social problems for decades, researchers said.

    “We’re not trying to value a single person,” said Brajer. “This is a social value on reducing the risk of early death.”

    Source

    Charles River Property Owners Must Now Control Stormwater

    BOSTON, Massachusetts,

    December 1, 2008

    The U.S. EPA and the state of Massachusetts are about to impose stormwater permit controls on industrial, commercial and high-density residential facilities in the Charles River watershed.Stormwater containing high levels of phosphorus is blamed for neon blue-green algae blooms of toxic cyanobacteria that have taken over the river in the summer months for the past several years.

    The federal and state actions will require the owners of industrial, commercial and residential facilities in the upstream towns of Milford, Franklin, and Bellingham with two or more acres of impervious area – such as parking lots, roofs, and roads – to operate under a Clean Water Act permit.

    “Polluted stormwater runoff causes serious water quality problems, and is the next great challenge for cleaning the Charles River,” said Robert Varney, regional administrator of the EPA’s New England office.

    “By working closely with Massachusetts and our other partners, we will make great environmental improvements, while at the same time providing facilities with flexibility and time to meet the new standards,” Varney said. “Working together cooperatively, we can solve these problems.”

    The new actions, announced in November, will ensure that property owners take responsibility for runoff from their sites.

    Blue-green algae on the Charles River as it flows through Boston, Massachusetts (Photo courtesy EPA)

    In a separate but related action, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is enacting a statewide requirement for facilities with five or more acres of impervious area to reduce stormwater runoff.

    “Many of our state’s waters are severely degraded as a result of stormwater pollution,” said Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles. “Now is the time to take action to reduce pollution and return more water to the ground, where it will be cleaned naturally and added to our water supplies.”

    Under both the federal and state actions, new requirements will be phased in to reduce polluted stormwater runoff at sites with large paved areas, including shopping malls and industrial areas.

    While the statewide standard will be five acres, Massachusetts is proposing to match EPA’s two-acre requirement in the Charles, where a higher level of control is needed to address chronic water quality problems.

    “Until now, managing stormwater has largely been the responsibility of the cities and towns,” said Laurie Burt, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. “It is critical now for other property owners to step up to the plate and do their part. This new program creates a level playing field by requiring that the responsibility for managing stormwater be shared by municipalities and private property owners.”

    Cities and towns across Massachusetts have invested in improving their sewer and stormwater infrastructure, yielding substantial water quality benefits, said Varney.

    “Our work will also help local municipalities, who up until now have shouldered the burden alone to take action to reduce pollution to our rivers, lakes and other waterways,” he said.

    Commercial, industrial and high-density residential facilities with two or more acres of impervious area will be required apply for a Clean Water Act permit for stormwater discharges which eventually reach the Charles River.

    The permits will require that these facilities reduce phosphorus discharges by 65 percent through a variety of stormwater management practices. Ultimately, these requirements will likely apply to the entire Charles River watershed, said state and federal officials.

    “EPA’s extension of the Clean Water Act to include polluted stormwater runoff from commercial and industrial parking lots is both bold, and necessary,” said Bob Zimmerman, executive director of the Charles River Watershed Association.

    “We will never clean up urban rivers without cleaning up existing runoff from pavement. This bold move will aid cities and towns meet their requirements, and help restore a more natural balance to the way water works in metropolitan regions, not just in the Charles River, but ultimately across the United States,” Zimmerman said.

    “It is time for existing commercial and industrial developments to do their fair share to clean up the stormwater pollution that is threatening public health and recreation in New England’s waters,” said Christopher Kilian, director of the Conservation Law Foundation’s Clean Water and Healthy Forests Program. “The EPA took this precedent-setting action because the Clean Water Act’s mandates don’t allow this pollution to go unaddressed.”

    In October 2007, EPA and the state began a process to limit phosphorus entering the Charles River by establishing a new Total Maximum Daily Load for discharges of phosphorus into the lower Charles River.

    Since 1995, the EPA’s Clean Charles Initiative has coordinated efforts between EPA, state and local governments, private organizations, and environmental advocates. Cities and towns along the Charles have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in stormwater and sewer improvements.

    Source

    The cost of coal use last year was EUR 360 billion, according to a new report, which accounts for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, health impacts and mining accidents in determining the ‘true’ price paid by global society for relying on the dirtiest of fossil fuels.

    The report, “The True Cost of Coal,” released by Greenpeace and the independent Dutch Institute CE Delft, arrived at this figure by looking the external costs of coal in 2007 for damages attributable to climate change, human health impacts from air pollution and fatalities due to major mining accidents–factors for which reasonably reliable global data is currently available.

    “The relentless expansion of the coal industry is the single greatest threat to averting dangerous climate change. Coal is the most climate-polluting fossil fuel, responsible for one third of all CO2 emissions, and is projected to increase to 60% of emissions by 2030,” Joris Thijssen, climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace International, told a press conference. “Clearly, quitting coal will benefit not only the climate, but also reduce the other impacts which everybody else has to pay for.”

    The report was released as Industry Ministers from at least 20 big emitting countries met in Warsaw with the world’s climate-polluting industries.

    Earlier in the day Greenpeace activists dumped lignite, dirty brown coal that makes up a large portion of Poland’s mining output, outside of the Warsaw Sheraton..

    Greenpeace Poland campaign director Maciej Muskat said that Greenpeace strongly suspected the Polish Government had organised the meeting for the wrong reasons.

    “The Polish people are already paying a high price for the cost of coal, through health impacts and the loss of lakes and ecosystems. Instead of concentrating on trying to shore up opposition against action on climate at both the Poznan meeting and the EU climate-energy package, the Polish government should implement its own renewable energy target and tap into the enormous potential of energy efficiency,” he said.

    The Warsaw meeting will probably talk about ‘clean coal’ technology that has the potential to sharply reduce CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants. However, the Greenpeace report ‘False Hope’ shows that so-called Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is a dangerous distraction. The technology is unproven, contains inherent risks and comes with an enormous price tag. Global greenhouse gas emissions need to start declining in the next seven years and CCS is in no position to play a role in making this happen.

    The impacts of coal are not only related to climate change. Coal also pollutes water resources, dirties the air and causes black lung disease. The report contains ‘on the ground’ stories from 12 countries that describe, for example, how human rights are violated in Colombia while mining coal, how mountain tops are blown apart in the United States and how coal use adds dramatically to air pollution in China.

    Source

    Low Concentrations Of Pesticides Can Become Toxic Mixture For Amphibians

    November 18, 2008

    Ten of the world’s most popular pesticides can decimate amphibian populations when mixed together even if the concentration of the individual chemicals are within limits considered safe, according to University of Pittsburgh research.

    Such “cocktails of contaminants” are frequently detected in nature, a new paper notes, and the Pitt findings offer the first illustration of how a large mixture of pesticides can adversely affect the environment.

    Study author Rick Relyea, an associate professor of biological sciences in Pitt’s School of Arts and Sciences, exposed gray tree frog and leopard frog tadpoles to small amounts of the 10 pesticides that are widely used throughout the world. Relyea selected five insecticides-carbaryl, chlorpyrifos, diazinon, endosulfan, and malathion-and five herbicides-acetochlor, atrazine, glyphosate, metolachlor, and 2,4-D. He administered the following doses: each of the pesticides alone, the insecticides combined, a mix of the five herbicides, or all 10 of the poisons.

    Relyea found that a mixture of all 10 chemicals killed 99 percent of leopard frog tadpoles as did the insecticide-only mixture; the herbicide mixture had no effect on the tadpoles. While leopard frogs perished, gray tree frogs did not succumb to the poisons and instead flourished in the absence of leopard frog competitors.

    Relyea also discovered that endosulfan-a neurotoxin banned in several nations but still used extensively in U.S. agriculture-is inordinately deadly to leopard frog tadpoles. By itself, the chemical caused 84 percent of the leopard frogs to die. This lethality was previously unknown because current regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) do not require amphibian testing, Relyea said. His results showed that endosulfan was not only highly toxic to leopard frogs, but also that it served as the linchpin of the pesticide mixture that eliminated the bulk of leopard frog tadpoles.

    “Endosulfan appears to be about 1,000-times more lethal to amphibians than other pesticides that we have examined,” Relyea said. “Unfortunately, pesticide regulations do not require amphibian testing, so very little is known about endosulfan’s impact on amphibians, despite being sprayed in the environment for more than five decades.”

    For most of the pesticides, the concentration Relyea administered (2 to 16 parts per billion) was far below the human-lifetime-exposure levels set by the EPA and also fell short of the maximum concentrations detected in natural bodies of water. But the research suggests that these low concentrations-which can travel easily by water and, particularly, wind-can combine into one toxic mixture. In the published paper, Relyea points out that declining amphibian populations have been recorded in pristine areas far downwind from areas of active pesticide use, and he suggests that the chemical cocktail he describes could be a culprit.

    The results of this study build on a nine-year effort by Relyea to understand potential links between the global decline in amphibians, routine pesticide use, and the possible threat to humans in the future. Amphibians are considered an environmental indicator species because of their unique sensitivity to pollutants. Their demise from pesticide overexposure could foreshadow the fate of less sensitive animals, Relyea said. Leopard frogs, in particular, are vulnerable to contamination; once plentiful across North America, including Pennsylvania, their population has declined in recent years as pollution and deforestation have increased.

    Relyea published a paper in the Oct. 1 edition of “Ecological Applications” reporting that gradual amounts of malathion-the most popular insecticide in the United States-that were too small to directly kill developing leopard frog tadpoles instead sparked a biological chain of events that deprived them of their primary food source. As a result, nearly half the tadpoles in the experiment did not reach maturity and would have died in nature.

    Source

    The cost of pollutions is definitely in the trillions.

    Of course I don’t think anyone has ever added up the total cost planet wise.

    The above is just a couple of estimates from a few places.

    One has to think of the planet as a whole. The cost is horrendous.

    Cleaning up after it is extremely costly.

    The cost to health care is staggering.

    The cost of lives lost because of it cannot be calculated.

    Well you can’t put a price tag on someones life.

    How much is your life worth?

    Think about it.

    Pollution Reports including Top 100 Corporate Air Polluters 2007 in US

    War “Pollution” Equals Millions of Deaths

    Repression in the Dominican Republic

    Resistance rises in the Dominican Republic

    Emmanuel Santos looks at state repression in the Dominican Republic and the spreading resistance.

    A march against police repression in San Francisco de Macoris

    A march against police repression in San Francisco de Macorís

    A SERIES of social struggles in the Dominican Republic are challenging the increasingly repressive regime of President Leonel Fernández.

    On October 21, a 48-hour strike to protest the high cost of living and lack of electricity, health care facilities and infrastructure investment paralyzed San Francisco de Macorís, the third largest city in the country. The strike, organized by the Alternative Social Forum (FSA), had a huge economic impact and led to street protests in adjacent towns.

    Police SWAT teams were dispatched to put down the strike. Officers shot at protesters indiscriminately, wounding 20 people during violent street clashes. More than 50 people were arrested.

    The death of two teenagers shot by police shocked the entire country. Then, four people were wounded when police interrupted the funeral of one of the murdered teens.

    But this was not the first time innocent people faced the wrath of the local police. In fact, the police in San Francisco de Macorís have a history of carrying out extrajudicial executions against poor youth. In 2004, Rafael Guillermo Guzmán Fermín, was removed from his post as police commander because of protests.

    Fermín had led a death squad that hunted for young people at night. Locals nicknamed his gang of uniformed assassins “Los Cirujanos” (the surgeons) because many of those shot became paraplegic.

    But Fermín’s career wasn’t ended after his removal from local office. Last year, Fermín was named chief of police by President Fernández, whose government is instrumental in legitimizing repressive measures to fight crime under the guise of the so-called “war on drugs.” In the meantime, new media revelations implicate upper echelons of the military in the drug trade.

    Under a “democratic security policy” put in place with the aid of the U.S. and Colombia, police and undercover units are conducting raids in poor neighborhoods, killing Black youth and criminalizing the poor.

    In San Francisco de Macorís, complaints about police brutality had reached a crescendo before the strike October 21. The local governor, a member of the ruling party, was forced to ask government authorities to transfer the entire police department. On October 23, however, a massive demonstration in the city sent a loud message to the government in one of the biggest demonstrations against police brutality in recent memory.

    For a moment, the strike had the potential of spreading nationwide. But a section of the FSA, the left-wing Broad Front of Popular Struggle (FALPO), opened a dialogue with the government and negotiated a truce. FALPO’s willingness to make a deal with the government has to do with its recent decision to participate in local elections, leading it to set aside its more radical politics.

    Moreover, the government has already had some success in co-opting the opposition. A deal signed between the bosses and the main labor unions freezes salaries for two years.

    But agreements and negotiations are unlikely to bring an end to the rising social struggle in the Dominican Republic. So far this year, public sector doctors from the Dominican Medical Association (CMD) have struck ten times to demand a salary increase. Their actions are giving confidence to other union workers and the unorganized.

    Fernández is trying to divide the union through both co-optation and violence. On every occasion, CMD marches have been dispersed by tear gas and brutal police force. In early October, SWAT teams and police forcefully removed doctors during a hunger strike in the Health Department headquarters. Additionally, displaced hurricane victims join in with those affected by constant blackouts to organize protests regularly.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    THIS CRACKDOWN is part of broader shift to the right by President Fernández. During the recent presidential campaign, he declared himself the political heir of former right-wing strongman Joaquin Balaguer to appeal to conservative voters, and fill the political vacuum left by Balaguer after his death in 2002.

    Between 1966 and 1978, Balaguer’s U.S.-backed reign of terror wiped out the left and the labor movement while opening up the economy to foreign multinationals in an employers’ offensive that continues to this day. And like his predecessors, Fernández embraces anti-Haitian racism and social conservatism to push forward the employer’s offensive.

    In August, Fernández announced new cuts in food subsidies and a freeze on infrastructure investment including roads, schools and hospitals so as to reduce the deficit and guarantee the payment of the foreign debt.

    As the effects of the world financial crisis destroy jobs and wages, ordinary people in many parts of the country demand solutions to their problems in the form of strikes while Fernández escalates repression in manner not seen since the 1970s. However, this is not having its intended effect and instead, is creating a backlash against his government.

    A key focal point of the resistance is the scandal over fake milk used in the government’s school breakfast program. A media uproar pressured the government to transfer the Minister of Education to a less visible cabinet position: that of women’s affairs. The fact that an arrogant, corrupt government official was put in charge of this department highlights the government’s low regard for women’s rights.

    But the battle was far from over. Lácteos Dominicanos (Ladom), the milk supplier, sued two veteran independent journalists, Huchi Lora and Nuria Piera, for their role in breaking the milk scandal. A court ruling allowed Ladom’s lawyers to enter the journalists’ office to get unedited footage related to the scandal. This infuriated journalists and left activists who denounced it as nothing more than a typical intimidation tactic to silence independent media.

    The court ruling was far from the only attack on the media, however. A new wave of violent attacks against independent journalists erupted after a cameraman was shot in August. Many journalists have become more reluctant to cover politics because of fear of reprisals.

    But on September 23, some 300 people marched to protest the court ruling on the milk scandal as well as the climate of fear that has made it more difficult for journalists to do their work in recent months. This was the first time in many years that journalists marched against state repression and censorship.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    WHILE CRACKING down on the press and protesters, the government and the far right has ramped up its attacks on the traditional scapegoat in Dominican politics: Haitian immigrants. Between September 2004 and June 2008, more than 65,000 Haitian immigrants have been deported, all this under Fernández’s watch.

    On July 14, Gysselle Baret Reyes, a Dominican married to a Haitian immigrant, was kidnapped by two men and a woman for several hours. During her ordeal, her assailants poured acid on her left arm. They also questioned her about her family and her ties with Emildo Bueno Oguis, a Dominico-Haitian who is conducting a legal battle against the government to demand a birth certificate so he can travel to the U.S. and reunite with his American-born wife.

    The attack on Reyes was in retaliation for her appearance on public television where she denounced government authorities for denying birth certificates to her children. This is typical: the Dominican government refuses to grant citizenship rights to thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent.

    Anti-immigrant rhetoric serves to justify border militarization under the banner of fighting the drug trade, terrorism and human trafficking and national sovereignty.

    Under the U.S. Merida Initiative, more military aid is on the way to upgrade the Dominican army, which will be to conduct more raids and deportations against Haitian immigrants. Furthermore, meetings between the Dominican government and the Brazilian-dominated UN military occupation forces in Haiti have fostered closer links with the Brazilian military, which is inflicting a brutal repression against followers of former Haitian president Jean Bertrand Aristide.

    This attack on immigrants is part of an employers’ offensive that instills fear in Haitian immigrants and prevents them from organizing in unions. Still, immigrants are fighting back. Early this year, 120 immigrants mutinied while on route to Haiti. And immigrant rights marches in the border provinces have taken place.

    If President Fernández gets his way, anti-Haitian measures will be enshrined in a proposed new constitution that would grant him additional powers and allow him to be re-elected indefinitely.

    The new constitution contemplates, among other things, defining marriage as “a union between a man and a woman” and strengthening what are already harsh anti-abortion laws.

    But perhaps the main target of the constitution is Haitians. According to the new constitution, children of undocumented immigrants would not be granted citizenship. No other immigrant group, other than Haitians, has been subject to these segregationist laws.

    Even without the constituional changes, Dominico-Haitians constantly find their legal status threatened. Last year, Sonia Pierre, an immigrant rights activist, came under attack by a small right wing party, part of the governing coalition, which tried to seek a court ruling to annul her citizenship under the grounds that her parents were undocumented Haitian immigrants.

    But she scored an important victory against the right and the government when activists launched a campaign to defend her, setting a legal precedent that opened the door to future legal battles.

    Yet if the Dominican can’t strip Haitians’ rights through legal means, it’s prepared to use violence to intimidate them. Recently, Haitian immigrants were subjected brutal attacks at the same time strikes and protests were taking place in many parts of the country.

    In the city of Neyba, two Haitian immigrants were murdered by Dominicans after a Dominican was supposedly killed by a Haitian immigrant. Other violent attacks followed in the town of Guayubín, where 30 houses belonging to Haitian immigrants were burned by a mob after a Haitian was suspected of murdering a Dominican man.

    As usual, racist violence against Haitian immigrants remains unpunished because local authorities are behind the attacks. In fact, the mayor of Guayubín is accused of being one of the organizers of the latest violence.

    Meanwhile, the mainstream media spread racist ideas about Haitians, who are portrayed as drug dealers, delinquents and rapists. Both politicians and the Catholic Church whip up racist frenzy by blaming Haitian immigrants for crime, “stealing” jobs from Dominicans and spreading disease.

    But contrary to mainstream media propaganda, Haitians and Dominican live side by side in poor neighborhoods, and are more integrated than ever before in their workplaces. Though, many ordinary Dominicans embrace racist ideas about Haitians, they’re not responsible for spreading racism and organizing violence against immigrants. The blame for those atrocities rests with the government and the employers.

    The more recent attacks led to the deportation of some 500 Haitian immigrants under the pretext of “protecting their lives.” In any case, the same army and police that are responsible for suppressing labor struggles and murdering Black Dominican youth can’t be expected to protect the lives of Haitian immigrants. As of this writing, the town of Navarrete is under military occupation after street protests exploded in protests.

    The resistance to Fernández’s repression provides a new opportunity to challenge the government’s divide-and-conquer tactics. Working-class unity between Haitians and Dominicans will be crucial to rebuild the labor movement and the left in order to challenge racist violence and fight for better working conditions and wages for everyone.

    Source

    Obama, McCain discuss ways to change ‘bad habits’ of Washington

    Obama, McCain discuss ways to change 'bad habits' of Washington

    November 17 2008

    By BETH FOUHY

    CHICAGO

    President-elect Barack Obama and former Republican rival John McCain pledged Monday to work together on ways to change Washington’s “bad habits,” though aides to both men said it was unlikely McCain would serve in an Obama cabinet.

    The two men met in Obama’s transition headquarters in Chicago for the first time since the Illinois senator vanquished McCain in the presidential election Nov. 4.

    Obama said they wanted to talk about “how we can do some work together to fix up the country,” and he added that he would offer his thanks to McCain “for the outstanding service he’s already rendered.”

    Obama has said he is likely to invite at least one Republican to join his cabinet, but McCain was not expected to be a candidate. McCain is serving his fourth term in the U.S. Senate.

    Obama and McCain sat together for a brief picture-taking session with reporters, along with Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s incoming White House chief of staff, and South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, McCain’s close friend.

    Obama and McCain were heard briefly discussing football, and Obama cracked that “the national press is tame compared to the Chicago press.”

    When asked if he planned to help the Obama administration, McCain replied, “Obviously.”

    After the meeting, the two issued a joint statement saying: “At this defining moment in history, we believe that Americans of all parties want and need their leaders to come together and change the bad habits of Washington so that we can solve the common and urgent challenges of our time.”

    “It is in this spirit that we had a productive conversation today about the need to launch a new era of reform where we take on government waste and bitter partisanship in Washington in order to restore trust in government, and bring back prosperity and opportunity for every hardworking American family,” it said.

    “We hope to work together in the days and months ahead on critical challenges like solving our financial crisis, creating a new energy economy and protecting our nation’s security.”

    Obama and McCain clashed bitterly during the fall campaign over taxes, the Iraq War, and ways to fix the ailing economy. Things got ugly at times, with McCain running ads comparing Obama to celebrities Britney Spears and Paris Hilton and raising questions about his rival’s distant relationship with a 1960s-era radical, William Ayers.

    Obama’s campaign labelled the 72-year old McCain “erratic” and ran a campaign ad falsely suggesting that McCain and Rush Limbaugh shared similar anti-immigration views.

    McCain delivered a gracious concession speech on election night, paying tribute to Obama’s historic ascendancy as the country’s first black president. The two agreed that night to meet after the election when McCain called Obama to concede defeat.

    Meanwhile, Obama said in his first television interview since his historic election that Americans shouldn’t worry about the growing federal deficit for the next couple of years and also urged help for the auto industry.

    While investors are still riding a rollercoaster on Wall Street, Obama told CBS’ “60 Minutes” in an interview broadcast Sunday that the economy would have deteriorated even more without the $700 billion bank bailout. Re-regulation is a legislative priority, he said, not to crush “the entrepreneurial spirit and risk-taking of American capitalism” but to “restore a sense of balance.”

    He also said, “We shouldn’t worry about the deficit next year or even the year after. … The most important thing is that we avoid a deepening recession.”

    Obama said he has spent the days since the election planning to stabilize the economy, restore consumer confidence, create jobs and get sound health care and energy policies through Congress.

    “There’s no doubt that we have not been able yet to reset the confidence in the financial markets and in the consumer markets and among businesses that allow the economy to move forward in a strong way,” Obama said. “And my job as president is going to be to make sure that we restore that confidence.”

    While he said “we have the tools,” the president-elect said not enough has been done to address bank foreclosures and distressed homeowners.

    “We’ve gotta set up a negotiation between banks and borrowers so that people can stay in their homes,” Obama said. “That is going to have an impact on the economy as a whole. And, you know, one thing I’m determined is that if we don’t have a clear, focused program for homeowners by the time I take office, we will after I take office.”

    Obama credited Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson for trying to remedy “an unprecedented crisis” the country hasn’t seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

    A member of the transition team works with Paulson daily, Obama said, getting the needed background and sometimes offering approaches to address the economic meltdown.

    Obama also acknowledged meeting with former Democratic rival Senator Hillary Clinton last week, but refused to say whether she was being considered for secretary of state, as has been widely reported. He also said the Republican party will be represented in his cabinet.

    In the CBS interview, Obama also said that as soon as he takes office he will work with his security team and the military to draw down U.S. troops in Iraq, shore up Afghanistan and “stamp out al-Qaida once and for all.”

    Obama confirmed reports that he intends to close the detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, and “make sure we don’t torture” as “part and parcel of an effort to regain America’s moral stature in the world.”

    Obama also said he plans to put al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in the crosshairs.

    “I think capturing or killing bin Laden is a critical aspect of stamping out al-Qaida,” Obama said. “He is not just a symbol, he’s also the operational leader of an organization that is planning attacks against U.S. targets.”

    Source

    Published in: on November 18, 2008 at 4:51 am  Comments Off on Obama, McCain discuss ways to change ‘bad habits’ of Washington  
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    Senator John McCain’s Record on Troop and Veterans’ Issues


    In recent presidential debates, Senator John McCain has said things like, “I know the veterans.  I know them well.  And, I know that they know that I’ll take care of them.”  It was stunning, because nothing could be further from the truth.  It’s something that our friend Charlie Fink even made an issue of in his new video at Lunatics and Liars.

    A lot of you have asked VoteVets.org to explain why Senator McCain gets consistently low ratings from veterans groups.   Below is a full list of votes, statements, and positions of Senator McCain’s, which shows that Senator McCain has consistently bailed on troops and veterans.

    It’s a very long, but comprehensive list.  I encourage you to take a look and pass it around.  An even more robust list, complete with video, can be found at VetVoice.com, as well.

    Sincerely,

    Brandon Friedman
    Iraq and Afghanistan War Veteran
    Vice Chairman, VoteVets.org

    Senator John McCain’s Record on Troop and Veterans’ Issues

    · Veterans Groups Give McCain Failing Grades. In its most recent legislative ratings, the non-partisan Disabled American Veterans gave Sen. McCain a 20 percent rating for his voting record on veterans’ issues.  Similarly, the non-partisan Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America gave McCain a “D” grade for his poor voting record on veterans’ issues, including McCain’s votes against additional body armor for troops in combat and additional funding for PTSD and TBI screening and treatment.

    · McCain Voted Against Increased Funding for Veterans’ Health Care. Although McCain told voters at a campaign rally that improving veterans’ health care was his top domestic priority, he voted against increasing funding for veterans’ health care in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. (Greenville News, 12/12/2007; S.Amdt. 2745 to S.C.R. 95, Vote 40, 3/10/04; Senate S.C.R. 18, Vote 55, 3/16/05; S.Amdt. 3007 to S.C.R. 83, Vote 41, 3/14/06; H.R. 1591, Vote 126, 3/29/07)

    · McCain Voted At Least 28 Times Against Veterans’ Benefits, Including Healthcare. Since arriving in the U.S. Senate in 1987, McCain has voted at least 28 times against ensuring important benefits for America’s veterans, including providing adequate healthcare. (2006 Senate Vote #7, 41, 63, 67, 98, 222; 2005 Senate Votes #55, 89, 90, 251, 343; 2004 Senate Votes #40, 48, 145; 2003 Senate Votes #74, 81, 83; 1999 Senate Vote #328; 1998 Senate Vote #175; 1997 Senate Vote #168; 1996 Senate Votes #115, 275; 1995 Senate Votes #76, 226, 466; 1994 Senate Vote #306; 1992 Senate Vote #194; 1991 Senate Vote #259)

    · McCain Voted Against Providing Automatic Cost-of-Living Adjustments to Veterans. McCain voted against providing automatic annual cost-of-living adjustments for certain veterans’ benefits. (S. 869, Vote 259, 11/20/91)

    · McCain Voted to Underfund Department of Veterans Affairs. McCain voted for an appropriations bill that underfunded the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development by $8.9 billion. (H.R. 2099, Vote 470, 9/27/95)

    · McCain Voted Against a $13 Billion Increase in Funding for Veterans Programs. McCain voted against an amendment to increase spending on veterans programs by $13 billion. (S.C.R. 57, Vote 115, 5/16/96)

    · McCain Voted Against $44.3 Billion for Veterans Programs. McCain was one of five senators to vote against a bill providing $44.3 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs, plus funding for other federal agencies. (H.R. 2684, Vote 328, 10/15/99)

    · McCain Voted Against $47 Billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs. McCain was one of eight senators to vote against a bill that provided $47 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs. (H.R. 4635, Vote 272, 10/12/00)

    · McCain Voted Against $51 Billion in Veterans Funding. McCain was one of five senators to vote against the bill and seven to vote against the conference report that provided $51.1 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as funding for the federal housing, environmental and emergency management agencies and NASA. (H.R. 2620, Vote 334, 11/8/01; Vote 269, 8/2/01)

    · McCain Voted Against $122.7 Billion for Department of Veterans Affairs. McCain voted against an appropriations bill that included $122.7 billion in fiscal 2004 for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development and other related agencies. (H.R. 2861, Vote 449, 11/12/03)

    · McCain Opposed $500 Million for Counseling Services for Veterans with Mental Disorders. McCain voted against an amendment to appropriate $500 million annually from 2006-2010 for counseling, mental health and rehabilitation services for veterans diagnosed with mental illness, posttraumatic stress disorder or substance abuse. (S. 2020, S.Amdt. 2634, Vote 343, 11/17/05)

    · McCain opposed an Assured Funding Stream for Veterans’ Health Care. McCain opposed providing an assured funding stream for veterans’ health care, taking into account annual changes in veterans’ population and inflation. (S.Amdt. 3141 to S.C.R. 83, Vote 63, 3/16/06)

    · McCain Voted Against Adding More Than $400 Million for Veterans’ Care. McCain was one of 13 Republicans to vote against providing an additional $430 million to the Department of Veterans Affairs for outpatient care and treatment for veterans. (S.Amdt. 3642 to H.R. 4939, Vote 98, 4/26/06)

    · McCain Supported Outsourcing VA Jobs. McCain opposed an amendment that would have prevented the Department of Veterans Affairs from outsourcing jobs, many held by blue-collar veterans, without first giving the workers a chance to compete. (S.Amdt. 2673 to H.R. 2642, Vote 315, 9/6/07)

    · McCain Opposed the 21st Century GI Bill Because It Was Too Generous. McCain did not vote on the GI Bill that will provide better educational opportunities to veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, paying full tuition at in-state schools and living expenses for those who have served at least three years since the 9/11 attacks. McCain said he opposes the bill because he thinks the generous benefits would “encourage more people to leave the military.” (S.Amdt. 4803 to H.R. 2642, Vote 137, 5/22/08; Chattanooga Times Free Press, 6/2/08; Boston Globe, 5/23/08; ABCNews.com, 5/26/08)

    · Disabled American Veterans Legislative Director Said That McCain’s Proposal Would Increase Costs For Veterans Because His Plan Relies On Private Hospitals Which Are More Expensive and Which Could Also Lead To Further Rationing Of Care. “To help veterans who live far from VA hospitals or need specialized care the VA can’t provide, McCain proposed giving low-income veterans and those who incurred injury during their service a card they could use at private hospitals. The proposal is not an attempt to privatize the VA, as critics have alleged, but rather, an effort to improve care and access to it, he said. Joe Violanti, legislative director of the Disabled American Veterans, a nonpartisan organization, said the proposal would increase costs because private hospitals are more expensive. The increased cost could lead to further rationing of care, he said.” (Las Vegas Sun, 8/10/08)

    Lack of Support for the Troops

    · McCain co-sponsored the Use of Force Authorization. McCain supported the bill that gave President George W. Bush the green light–and a blank check–for going to war with Iraq. (SJ Res 46, 10/3/02)

    · McCain Opposed Increasing Spending on TRICARE and Giving Greater Access to National Guard and Reservists. Although his campaign website devotes a large section to veterans issues, including expanding benefits for reservists and members of the National Guard, McCain voted against increasing spending on the TRICARE program by $20.3 billion over 10 years to give members of the National Guard and Reserves and their families greater access to the health care program. The increase would be offset by a reduction in tax cuts for the wealthy. (S.Amdt. 324 to S.C.R. 23, Vote 81, 3/25/03)

    · McCain voted against holding Bush accountable for his actions in the war. McCain opposed the creation of an independent commission to investigate the development and use of intelligence leading up to the war in Iraq. (S.Amdt. 1275 to H.R. 2658, Vote 284, 7/16/03)

    · McCain voted Against Establishing a $1 Billion Trust Fund for Military Health Facilities. McCain voted against establishing a $1 billion trust fund to improve military health facilities by refusing to repeal tax cuts for those making more than $1 million a year. (S.Amdt. 2735 to S.Amdt. 2707 to H.R. 4297, Vote 7, 2/2/06)

    · Senator McCain opposed efforts to end the overextension of the military–a policy that is having a devastating impact on our troops. McCain voted against requiring mandatory minimum downtime between tours of duty for troops serving in Iraq. (S.Amdt.. 2909 to S.Amdt. 2011 to HR 1585, Vote 341, 9/19/07; S.Amdt. 2012 to S.Amdt. 2011 to HR 1585, Vote 241, 7/11/07)

    · McCain announced his willingness to keep U.S. troops in Iraq for decades–a statement sure to inflame Iraqis and endanger American troops. McCain: “Make it a hundred” years in Iraq and “that would be fine with me.” (Derry, New Hampshire Town Hall meeting, 1/3/08)

    · McCain voted against a ban on waterboarding–a form of torture–in a move that could eventually endanger American troops. According to ThinkProgress, “the Senate brought the Intelligence Authorization Bill to the floor, which contained a provision from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) establishing one interrogation standard across the government. The bill requires the intelligence community to abide by the same standards as articulated in the Army Field Manual and bans waterboarding.”  McCain voted against the bill.  (H.R. 2082, Vote 22, 2/13/08)

    · McCain Also Supported Outsourcing at Walter Reed. McCain opposed an amendment to prevent the outsourcing of 350 federal employee jobs at Walter Reed Army Medical Center–outsourcing that contributed to the scandalous treatment of veterans at Walter Reed that McCain called a “disgrace.” (S.Amdt. 4895 to H.R. 5631, Vote 234, 9/6/06; Speech to VFW in Kansas City, Mo., 4/4/08)

    · Senator McCain has consistently opposed any plan to withdraw troops from Iraq–a policy that has directly weakened American efforts in Afghanistan. Senator McCain repeatedly voted against a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq. (S.Amdt. 3876 to S.Amdt. 3874 to H.R. 2764, Vote #438, 12/18/07; S.Amdt. 3875 to S.Amdt. 3874 to H.R. 2764, Vote #437, 12/18/07; S.Amdt.3164 to H.R. 3222, Vote #362, 10/3/07; S.Amdt. 2898 to S. Amdt. 2011 to H.R. 1585, Vote #346, 9/21/07; S. Amdt. 2924 to S.Amdt. 2011 to H.R.1585, Vote #345, 9/21/07; S.Amdt.2 087 to S.Amdt. 2011 to H.R. 1585, Vote #252, 7/18/07; S.Amdt. 643 to H.R. 1591, Vote #116, 3/27/07; S.Amdt. 4320 to S. 2766, Vote #182, 6/22/06; S.Amdt. 4442 to S. 2766, Vote #181, 6/22/06; S.Amdt. 2519 to S.1042, Vote #322, 11/15/05)

    · McCain said it’s “not too important” when U.S. troops leave Iraq. This exchange occurred on NBC’s Today Show with Matt Lauer:

    LAUER: If it’s working, senator, do you now have a better estimate of when American forces can come home from Iraq?
    McCAIN: No, but that’s not too important.

    (NBC, Today Show, 6/11/08)

    Cheerleading for War with Iraq–While Afghanistan was Unfinished

    · McCain suggested that the war in Iraq could be won with a “smaller” force. “But the fact is I think we could go in with much smaller numbers than we had to do in the past. But I don’t believe it’s going to be nearly the size and scope that it was in 1991.” (CBS News, Face the Nation, 9/15/02)

    · McCain said winning the war would be “easy.” “I know that as successful as I believe we will be, and I believe that the success will be fairly easy, we will still lose some American young men or women.” (CNN, 9/24/02)

    · McCain also said the actual fighting in Iraq would be easy. “We’re not going to get into house-to-house fighting in Baghdad.  We may have to take out buildings, but we’re not going to have a bloodletting of trading American bodies for Iraqi bodies.” (CNN, 9/29/02)

    · Continuing his pattern, McCain also said on MSNBC that we would win the war in Iraq “easily.” “But the point is that, one, we will win this conflict. We will win it easily.” (MSNBC, 1/22/03)

    · McCain argued Saddam was “a threat of the first order.” Senator McCain said that a policy of containing Iraq to blunt its weapons of mass destruction program is “unsustainable, ineffective, unworkable and dangerous.” McCain: “I believe Iraq is a threat of the first order, and only a change of regime will make Iraq a state that does not threaten us and others, and where liberated people assume the rights and responsibilities of freedom.” (Speech to the Center for Strategic & International Studies, 2/13/03)

    · McCain echoed Bush and Cheney’s rationale for going to war. McCain: “We’re going to win this victory. Tragically, we will lose American lives. But it will be brief.  We’re going to find massive evidence of weapons of mass destruction . . . It’s going to send the message throughout the Middle East that democracy can take hold in the Middle East.” (Fox News, Hannity & Colmes, 2/21/03)

    · “But I believe, Katie, that the Iraqi people will greet us as liberators.” (NBC, 3/20/03)

    · March 2003: “I believe that this conflict is still going to be relatively short.” (NBC, Meet the Press, 3/30/03)

    · McCain echoed Bush and Cheney’s talking points that the U.S. would only be in Iraq for a short time. McCain: “It’s clear that the end is very much in sight . . . It won’t be long . . . it’ll be a fairly short period of time.” (ABC, 4/9/03)

    Staunch Defense of the Iraq Invasion

    · McCain maintained that the war was a good idea and that George W. Bush deserved “admiration.” At the 2004 Republican National Convention, McCain, focusing on the war in Iraq, said that while weapons of mass destruction were not found, Saddam once had them and “he would have acquired them again.” McCain said the mission in Iraq “gave hope to people long oppressed” and it was “necessary, achievable and noble.” McCain: “For his determination to undertake it, and for his unflagging resolve to see it through to a just end, President Bush deserves not only our support, but our admiration.” (Speech, Republican National Convention, 8/31/04)

    · Senator McCain: “The war, the invasion was not a mistake. (Meet the Press, 1/6/08)

    · McCain said the war in Iraq was “worth” it. Asked if the war was a good idea worth the price in blood and treasure, McCain: “It was worth getting rid of Saddam Hussein. He had used weapons of mass destruction, and it’s clear that he was hell-bent on acquiring them.” (Republican Debate, 1/24/08)

    Dangerous Lack of Foreign Policy Knowledge

    · When questioned about Osama bin Laden after the 1998 U.S. missile strikes in Afghanistan, McCain surmised that the terrorist leader wasn’t as “bad” as “depicted.” “You could say, Look, is this guy, Laden, really the bad guy that’s depicted?  Most of us have never heard of him before.” (Interview with Mother Jones magazine, 11/1998)

    · McCain was unaware of previous Sunni-Shia violence before the Iraq War. “There’s not a history of clashes that are violent between Sunnis and Shias. So I think they can probably get along.” (MSNBC, Hardball, 4/23/03)

    · McCain said our military could just “muddle through” in Afghanistan. While giving a speech, McCain was asked about Afghanistan and replied, “I am concerned about it, but I’m not as concerned as I am about Iraq today, obviously, or I’d be talking about Afghanistan.  But I believe that if Karzai can make the progress that he is making, that in the long term, we may muddle through in Afghanistan.” (Speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, 11/5/03)

    · McCain stated that Sunni al Qaeda was “supported” by the Shia Iranians. (2/2008)

    · McCain again confused Sunni Muslim al Qaeda operatives with Shi’a Muslim insurgents. The Washington Post reported of McCain: “He said several times that Iran, a predominately Shiite country, was supplying the mostly Sunni militant group, al-Qaeda. In fact, officials have said they believe Iran is helping Shiite extremists in Iraq.

    “Speaking to reporters in Amman, the Jordanian capital, McCain said he and two Senate colleagues traveling with him continue to be concerned about Iranian operatives ‘taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back.’

    “Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it was ‘common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that’s well known. And it’s unfortunate.’” (Press conference, Amman, Jordan, 3/18/2008)

    · Yet again, McCain demonstrated that he didn’t know whether al Qaeda was a Sunni or Shiite organization. While questioning General David Petraeus during a Senate hearing, the following exchange occurred:

    MCCAIN: Do you still view al Qaeda in Iraq as a major threat?
    PETRAEUS: It is still a major threat, though it is certainly not as major a threat as it was say 15 months ago.
    MCCAIN: Certainly not an obscure sect of the Shi’ites overall?
    PETREAUS: No.
    MCCAIN: Or Sunnis or anybody else.

    (Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing, 4/8/08)

    · McCain incorrectly thought General David Petraeus was in charge of Afghanistan. The Army Times reported: “Speaking Monday at the annual meeting of the Associated Press, McCain was asked whether he, if elected, would shift combat troops from Iraq to Afghanistan to intensify the search for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

    ‘I would not do that unless Gen. (David) Petraeus said that he felt that the situation called for that,’ McCain said, referring to the top U.S. commander in Iraq.

    “Petraeus, however, made clear last week that he has nothing to do with the decision. Testifying last week before four congressional committees, including the Senate Armed Services Committee on which McCain is the ranking Republican, Petraeus said the decision about whether troops could be shifted from Iraq to Afghanistan was not his responsibility because his portfolio is limited to the multi-national force in Iraq.” (Annual meeting of the Associated Press, 4/14/08)

    · McCain credited the “surge” for the “Anbar Awakening”–even though the Anbar Awakening preceded the surge by nearly a year. (7/22/08)

    · John McCain has also recently demonstrated either serious knowledge gaps in terms of foreign policy, or mounting confusion, when discussing an array of other countries:

    Spain: McCain refused to commit to meeting with the president of Spain, a NATO ally, after becoming confused about America’s relationship with Spain, its leader, and, possibly, exactly where Spain is located. (9/17/08)


    Czech Republic and Slovakia: McCain referred to the two countries using the name “Czechoslovakia” several times–despite the fact that Czechoslakia split apart and hasn’t existed since 1993. (
    7/15/08; (7/14/08))


    Venezuela: McCain said that Venezuela was a Middle Eastern country. (
    9/30/08)

    This man it seems would not protect our men and women who risk their lives every day.

    Know who your voting for.  I would never vote for this man. I love my troops too much to leave them in his hands. The majority of the money in 612 billion budget for defense goes to contractors etc. The majority goes to the profiteers of war and there are many.

    Not for the troops or the veterans. Very little actually is used to take care of them.

    One can decide what they will but, always consider the running record of any candidate.

    McCain’s record in this area is rather bleak. One would think of all the people, he would understand, the needs of these ones the most. But he doesn’t.

    If he can’t fathom the needs of troops and veterans, I am afraid he would never be able to lead the American people into a new and brighter future. But that’s just my opinion.

    Would you want the lives of you children, brothers, sisters, uncle, aunts, families or friends left in his hands?

    That is the ultimate question we all have to ask ourselves.

    Anyone who has had an adversarial relationship with John McCain will tell you that there are few with less self-control than the senator from Arizona. Many have questioned his ability to maintain a clear head in a time of crisis. For those of us who have seen these sparks of insanity from McCain, we know all too well that what lies beneath is something dark, ominous and certainly not presidential. John McCain makes reference to his service to our great nation by almost daily reminding us of his five and a half year captivity in the Hanoi Hilton. Yet few have been able to look beyond McCain, the POW, to examine his political record, as if it were taboo somehow to be critical of a former prisoner of war. But what about this former prisoner of war and his criticism of the very same people who fought to bring him home from the dark dank cell he likes to remind us about so much? – The POW/MIA Families of those less fortunate than McCain, those who still have yet to be returned to the soil they gave their lives for.

    Since his return from Hanoi, McCain has …

    ~Ignored pleas of POW/MIA Family Members for his political influence in the overall POW/MIA Issue as well as with their individual cases

    ~Verbally abused POW/MIA Family Members in public and private

    ~Attempted to negatively influence those who testified before the 1992 Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs

    ~Diminished legislation that gave oversight and protection to the families

    ~Dismantled protection to any future servicemen that go missing.

    Source

    Published in: on October 17, 2008 at 12:46 pm  Comments Off on Senator John McCain’s Record on Troop and Veterans’ Issues  
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    As Budgets Tighten, More People Decide Medical Care Can Wait

    By Ceci Connolly and Kendra Marr

    October 16, 2008

    To monitor the multiple sclerosis attacking Ann Pietrangelo’s central nervous system, her doctor recommends an annual MRI. Last year, the 49-year-old Winchester, Va., woman had to pay a $3,000 co-payment to get the imaging done.

    This year, she’s skipping the test. Even with insurance, it’s more than her budget can tolerate, especially with the roller coaster on Wall Street devouring her retirement savings.

    “I’m doing everything I can to avoid going to the doctor,” she said.

    From Park Avenue dental offices to the Arlington Free Clinic, the global economic crunch is forcing a growing number of Americans to scale back on medical care. Consumers are attempting their own form of triage, pushing off seemingly less-urgent services in the hope that their financial health will improve. But the danger, say physicians, is that the short-term savings may translate into more severe long-term health implications.

    At the extreme are cases such as the Texas woman who went to the hospital complaining of back pain. Physician Doug Curran immediately spotted cancer on the X-ray.

    “She’d had a lump in her breast for a while, but things were tight and she said she couldn’t get it looked at,” he recalled. “We’re going to see more of that.”

    Nationwide, the number of consumers who went without a prescription, tapped into retirement savings to pay for health care or skipped a doctor visit for themselves or a child has risen since last year, according to a survey released this summer by the Rockefeller Foundation and Time magazine. One-quarter of the 2,000 respondents, for example, said they had decided not to see a doctor because of cost in 2008, up from 18 percent the year before. Ten percent said they did not take a child to the doctor for the same reason.

    “When the economy is in the situation we have today, people make tough choices,” said Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, who is head of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

    “Things are just not going to get done.”pharmacists see a spike in cheaper gen

    After nearly a decade of steady — often double-digit — increases in drug spending, the research company IMS Health this summer recorded the first actual decline. And a survey by the Center for Studying Health System Change found that nearly 20 percent of Americans report having difficulty paying medical bills.

    Layoffs, shrinking bank accounts, rising medical prices and widespread anxiety that the economy is likely to worsen are prompting people to split pills, forgo screening tests such as colonoscopies, delay elective procedures such as laser eye surgery and turn to home remedies as cheaper alternatives. Hospitals report that unpaid medical bills are on the rise, pharmacists see a spike in cheaper generics, and demand for low-cost care is climbing.

    Falls Church music teacher Lisa Emrich is coping with a dwindling number of piano students by cutting back on physician visits.

    “I have too many doctors and specialists who all wish to see me twice a year,” said Emrich, who is being treated for multiple sclerosis and arthritis. “Sometimes I might skip one if I’m doing well in that area. . . . When I see my neurologist, I’ll ask about my arthritis, which doesn’t make much sense. But I try to get as much as possible out of my doctor visits.”

    For Sandra Harrington, a waitress from Oxon Hill, the trade-off comes in treatment for an infected eye. Her doctor prescribed administering steroid drops twice a day. But as her tips have shrunk, she has decided that applying the $100 medication once a day is all she can afford.

    “It’s a vicious cycle,” she said, explaining that because it is too painful for her eye to be exposed to direct sunlight, she works only night shifts. “People cut back. Then people like me suffer.”

    In the past month, traffic on the five-year-old advice site JustAnswer.com rose 14 percent. The site, which allows customers to pose a health question and “bid” $9 to $30 for a doctor’s or a nurse’s response, had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days, said chief executive and founder Andy Kurtzig. In a telling sign, inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.

    At the Arlington Free Clinic, the surge in people seeking care has been overwhelming, said Executive Director Nancy Sanger Pallesen. Last week, the clinic provided free preventive screenings to 19 new patients, but it turned away 27 others, she said.

    “Those numbers are higher than what we were seeing just this summer,” she said. “Unfortunately, we can’t take them all in.”

    Even free care may not be a good deal for people with limited means. For some, the price of transportation is prohibitive; others fear discovering an illness they do not have the money to treat.

    Many are forced to juggle competing medical needs. Pietrangelo must balance the importance of the MRI, which detects brain lesions, and the costly medications that prevent her from relapsing. She pays co-payments of $500 per drug per month. There are no generic alternatives.

    “I can’t shop around,” she said. “My hands are tied.”

    Most analysts expect the medical crunch to worsen.

    “We know from past experience that an economic downturn drives more people to be uninsured,” said Len Nichols, director of health policy at the nonprofit, nonpartisan New America Foundation, a think tank. “They lose their jobs, they lose their income and their insurance.”

    That is what happened to Tim Doss. On Sept. 18, after driving a cement truck for an Indiana company for 10 years, he was laid off.

    “They told me, ‘As of midnight, your insurance is lapsed,’ ” he said. Doss, 50, and his wife have illnesses that require medications, regular doctor visits and tests. Creditors have come to their home trying to collect the $3,000 they owe in hospital co-payments from when they did have insurance.

    The couple decided that Doss’s annual checkup took precedence because he needed it to keep his commercial driver’s license. The checkup, plus blood work for a fatty liver and high cholesterol, cost $300. He persuaded his doctor to provide free samples of his liver medicine.

    Helen Doss does not plan to get an annual mammogram this year, even though her mother died of breast cancer at age 56. Doss was offered a free stress test at St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital, but she is afraid it will turn up more problems that she can’t take care of.

    “I’m just holding off for a year and hoping nothing happens,” she said.

    Their primary-care physician, Steven Wilk, is devoting more time to helping patients decide what to postpone.

    “Folks are asking us to try to limit what we order or pare it down to the bare-bones minimum,” he said. “As a doctor, I worry about the risk of missing something at an early stage. It could lead to more serious problems down the road.”

    In past recessions, health-care spending briefly spiked — as people raced to doctors before their insurance ran out — and then fell sharply, according to industry analysts.

    “Many times in health care there’s a lag of three to six months before it hits really hard,” said Donald Fisher, president of the American Medical Group Association, which represents large, multi-specialty providers. “If they have a problem, they get it fixed while they still have health insurance. Then we see a decline in elective procedures, and then we really see a drop-off.”

    In Plano, Tex., life feels like an endless downward spiral, Victoria Freudiger said, for herself and her husband. Losing jobs meant eliminating health insurance. No insurance meant Thomas Freudiger went to the hospital when he developed pneumonia this summer. That resulted in a $363 bill they couldn’t pay. Now their credit is shot.

    As the economy crumbled, both started canceling preventive screenings. She hasn’t had a pap smear or a mammogram for close to two years; he is overdue for a colonoscopy. They use do-it-yourself dental cement to patch their teeth and put their best face forward in job interviews. And although her doctor prescribed Neurontin for her seizures, Victoria Freudiger tries calming techniques instead of the pills.

    “Instead of taking them every day, I wait until I start feeling sick, and then I take them again,” she said. “Both of us are suffering mentally, emotionally and physically.”

    Though the burden is especially heavy for uninsured Americans, even those who have coverage are feeling the pinch as employers shift higher deductibles and co-payments onto employees.

    “The reason why health care was immune [to recessions] in the past was because most people were covered under good insurance plans,” said Jean Mitchell, a professor of public policy at Georgetown University. Now, “people are realizing, ‘Oh my gosh, I have to pay for this out of pocket.’ “

    In Durango, Colo., Marsha Porter-Norton and her husband, both entrepreneurs in their mid-40s, switched to a high-deductible plan when insurance premiums skyrocketed. Their new catastrophic policy costs $479 a month, but they have to pay the first $6,000 in expenses.

    She is supposed to get ultrasounds twice a year to check on the fibroid tumors in her uterus. But the couple’s retirement portfolio “has taken a massive hit,” and they worry about their jobs, Porter-Norton said. So, for now, she’s going to wait on the $500 ultrasound.

    “I’m going to take a gamble,” she said.

    Source

    Would you believe Insurance companies are corrupt, money grubbing, profiteers.

    They care nothing for people, just the profits. Profiteers for sure.

    The price paid for Drugs is also way too high. Of course drug companies are profiteers as well.  I am still trying to fathom the $100 for eye drops. What a rip off. TALK about over priced.

    No wonder people are losing their homes, going bankrupt and dieing for lack of health care…..

    Published in: on October 17, 2008 at 2:35 am  Comments Off on As Budgets Tighten, More People Decide Medical Care Can Wait  
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    McCain scrapping to change course of election

    Senator John McCain reacts to almost heading the wrong way off the stage at the conclusion of the final presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York

    Reuters

    Senator John McCain reacts to almost heading the wrong way off the stage at the conclusion of the final presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York

    October 16 2008

    A scrappy John McCain used the final presidential debate last night to try to unsettle his opponent, Barack Obama, with a fusillade of attacks, accusing him variously of threatening to weigh down Americans with new taxes, waging a historically negative campaign and taking extremist positions on abortion.

    The ferocity of Mr McCain’s assaults, fuelled by his underdog status according to numerous new polls, seemed for the first portion of the debate to be having some impact. But by its end, Mr McCain may have erred on the wrong side of the dividing line between being aggressive and unpleasantly negative.

    If Mr McCain, who may now face a deficit of as much as 14 points nationally according to New York Times/CBS poll yesterday, seemed at first to be more in his stride, by the time the clash was over, the spectators seem to have been left with a different impression. An instant CNN poll said that viewers gave the debate, held at Hofstra University in New York, to Mr Obama by 58 per cent to 31 per cent.

    For some, however, it might at least been the feistiest and even most informative of the three presidential debates, although the scope of discussion was limited almost entirely to domestic issues with a heavy bent, of course, on the economy.

    The star of the night may not have been either candidate, but rather ‘Joe the Plumber’. That would be Joe Wurzelbacher, whom Mr Obama met on the campaign trail in Ohio a few days ago only to hear him complain that his tax proposals may prevent him from buying the plumbing company he works for.

    Over and over again, Mr McCain tried to turn the encounter into a metaphor of Mr Obama’s tax plan, ridiculing him for pledging to introduce higher taxes for richer Americans and his promise to “spread the wealth around”. Mr McCain called the approach “class warfare”.

    While Mr McCain was revelling in his Joe the Plumber gambit, it is not clear that many voters will have understood why he kept raising him. As for Joe Wurzelbacher himself, he seemed more unimpressed than anyone. “I wasn’t swayed either way,” he said. “Obama speaks well, but, you know, there’s got to be action behind it.” He finally told one reporter he was leaning towards Mr McCain.

    As the debate wore on, the energy of Mr McCain looked more pent-up and cross than productive. He tried to score a bulls-eye blow, excoriating Mr Obama for trying relentlessly to tie him to George Bush. “Senator Obama, I am not President Bush,” he exploded. “If you wanted to run against President Bush you should have run four years ago. I will take this country in a new direction.”

    But here, as at many moments last night, Mr Obama refused to be put on his heels and with almost tedious moderation, hit directly back. “If I’ve occasionally mistaken your policies for George Bush’s policies, it’s because on the core economic issues that matter to the American people – on tax policy, on energy policy, on spending priorities – you have been a vigorous supporter of President Bush,” he said.

    If this debate was livelier, credit might be given to the moderator, Bob Schieffer from CBS. Midway through, he asked both candidates to explain why each of them had chosen their respective running mates. Given the shaky record of Sarah Palin, number two to Mr McCain, it might have been an invitation to Mr Obama to make hay at her expense. He demurred, choosing to speak mostly about his choice, Joe Biden, and even congratulating Ms Palin for her work on behalf of special needs children.

    A brief discussion about the negativity of the campaign over recent weeks may have surprised some because of Mr McCain’s attempt to put Mr Obama on the defensive. What ensued with a sharp tit for tat. “One hundred percent, John, of your ads, 100 percent of them have been negative,” Mr Obama insisted. “It’s not true,” McCain retorted. It absolutely is true,” said Obama, seeking the last word.

    As expected, discussion also turned to Bill Ayers, a former domestic terrorist but, in more recent years, respected advocate for education reform. Mr McCain’s campaign has repeatedly attempted to tie Mr Obama to Mr Ayers, and not in a flattering way.

    “The fact that this has become such an important part of your campaign, Sen. McCain, says more about your campaign than it says about me,” Obama suggested.

    Source

    I watched the debates myself and found McCain to be rather misinformed of some of the issues,  Or he just was lieing.

    One the Free Trade issue Obama knew his issues and was correct.

    Health Care  also another one of his strong points.

    McCain on either of those two issues alone, was totally wrong and in my opinion. His comment England and Canada’s Health Care was an obvious one. Health Care in wither country would be the “Dream come true” for the American people. In this context the grass is greener on the other side of the wall. Universal Health care for all,  is far “superior” to the American insurance, greed, profiteering stance in America.  This leaves many without any  health care whatsoever. In essence the US has been breaking international Law.

    On Free Trade the environmental issues do have be revisited. If a company pollutes and the Government wants to stop it  the Company has and will sue for lost profits and win. If people are dieing because of the pollution too bad for them. In essence Corporations pollute to their hearts content. Corporations have been given way to much power. Governments of all countries should be able to have the power to protect their citizens.

    So on these two issues alone Obama knew exactly what he was talking about.

    Published in: on October 16, 2008 at 9:15 pm  Comments Off on McCain scrapping to change course of election  
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