Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Single Payer - Marcy Winograd's Excellent Article!

Read Marcy Winograd's great blog post on Single Payer health care.

The insurance companies are fighting for their lives - they are cornered and therefore the most dangerous. They (and their cronies) are trying to paint Single Payer advocates (i.e. most Americans!) as some kind of marginal, fringe loonies. And the concept of the 'public/private partnership' is a recipe for failure.

There are no federal government cost projections for single payer. If there were, we would see that the beneficiaries would be the public. But we do have the projections for public/private.

Marcy writes:
"(W)e do know the cost projections for the current proposal, the Affordable Choices Act, a hybrid concoction of private insurance and the so-called “public option” which funnels billions into private for-profit insurance companies. In a June 15th letter to Senator Kennedy, the primary sponsor of this legislative effort, Douglas Elmendorf, the Director of the Congressional Budget Office, estimated the proposal would result in a trillion-dollar federal deficit over a ten year period. And that amount could only be offset by increased taxes, payment penalties for the uninsured, and cuts in Medicaid—hardly the way toward health care for all.

Instead of taxpayer money paying for actual health care under the public option, most of it, according to the CBO letter, would pay insurance companies to pay for health care. To make matters worse, this subsidy to the insurance industry requires dramatic cuts in Medicare, a program that should be expanded, not curtailed.

But here’s the real kicker. At the end of the decade, in 2019, under a private insurance/public option proposal, 36,000,000 Americans, as opposed to the current 45,000,000, would still be uninsured, according to the CBO. Because the draft legislation includes an “individual responsibility” clause, anyone who couldn’t afford to pay for coverage could face steep fines. Much like mandated drivers’ insurance, this system would be a boon to private insurers reaping the benefits of the new law requiring everyone to get health coverage.

On top of that there would be more marginalization. Cancer patients who couldn’t get private insurance coverage on their own would be pushed onto the public rolls, thereby saddling taxpayers with having to subsidize insurance policies for the seriously ill. In time, the public option, weighed down by this tax burden and unable to fully exercise bulk purchasing power, would collapse amidst a fiery congressional storm over the cost of the public option, thus legitimizing arguments that publicly-funded health care is a failed idea."

And that's it, folks. They are desperate to prove publicly-funded health care as a failure, and they don't care if they have to take the rest of us down with it.

Read more about Marcy Winograd's 2010 Congressional run against Jane Harman in the CA 36th here:

Winograd For Congress

If you're a progressive, the more you know about Marcy, the more you like!

A Thought - Republicans: Please, Just Don't.

If you are a Republican, please do not speak about election fraud. Ever.

Please, just don't.

The Words I Can't Wait To Hear Out Of Billo's Pie Hole - "Senator Al Franken"!

Oh my.

The day has finally arrived in which, from this day henceforth, Bill O'Reilly will be forced to utter three of the sweetest words in the English language:

"Senator Al Franken"!

Mmmmm-mm-mmm-mmm, good!

Of course, BlueGal tweets: "Limbaugh says Franken election just like Ahmadinejad's. There are no words."

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Shameless Self-Promotion 1.0 - Gigging in the San Francisco Bay Area on July 4!

To all my Bay Area friends - I'll be up your way next week!

We're coming up on Friday the 3rd and will be there for the weekend.

My husband and I are playing at a club called Rassela's

July 4th, 2009

1534 Fillmore Street
San Francisco, California 94115
Telephone Number: 415.346.8696

I would love to see you! Even if you can't make the gig, maybe we can meet for coffee or whatevs! But the gig is going to be a blast. Let me know if you are coming down so I can put you on the list.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Shameless Self-Promotion 2.0 - Performing Online Tonight In Real Time!

Come hear my gig online tonight~~

For the last couple of months, I have been doing some live streaming performance online in Second Life, a virtual online community, through my avatar Idella Quandry. I found out about Second Life through my friend General JC Christian, patriot, over at Jesus' General and while I initially joined to participate in Cafe Wellstone, a Second Life progressive group, I soon found that there is a lot of great music going on in SL as well, and was encouraged by my friends there to give it a try.

Since blogging opened up a huge new world for me, creating many real-life friendships and opportunities (like my book!), I have been interested in untilizing new ways to communicate, and Second Life has let me combine my three big passions - music, progressive politics, and computers - in a very interesting way. For most of my musical life, I have worked in bands; I have not done a whole lot of solo music. But here in Second Life, I am doing online concerts with just me and my keyboard - sometimes using tracks that I make myself on the more up-tempo tunes. I am enjoying the opportunity to do something outside of my comfort zone!

I play a show very much like one would do in real-life; there's an audience of real people listening, who I can see and interact with. From my studio, I send the music to a streaming audio server, which goes to my Second Life venue. There is a 15-30 second delay, which takes some getting used to, but other than that it's no different for me than playing in real-life - except that my avatar is much cuter than I am :) and has all the cool equipment.

Not only that - but even if you are not on Second Life, you can still catch the audio for the show online!

That's right; if you would like to attend one of my online shows, you can go to the web address of the stream and hear it online in real time!

I am playing tonight (Thursday June 25) from 8-10 PM Pacific Time (which is also Second Life time) at a lovely venue called Artistic Diversion. Tomorrow night (Friday June 26) I will be playing at a SL blues club called Not Too Hot. All of the Second Life information is on Idella's Ning site - http://idella.ning.com

If you want to catch the streaming audio live at these times from the web, you can go to my streaming server and click on 'listen' :


and if you want to communicate with me in real-time via IM, you can Google chat with me at idella.quandry@gmail.com - I'll have the chat window up! I'm on the lookout for a better and more accessible chat application, so if you know of one, let me know and I'll change.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Single-Payer Health Care - Can We 'Fight the Power'?

The problem with health care has nothing to do with health care.

The problem is the same problem we have with every issue of importance in this country - corporate money, which equals corporate influence.

Any legislator who wants what's best for the American people instead of what will further enrich the corporations - who have inserted the necessity for a 'profit margin' for people who do not themselves provide health care, but who profit through denying it - is quickly reminded that supporting single-payer health insurance will lead, not only to the loss of campaign money, but to the supporting of the candidacy of an opponent more amenable to the corporate point of view.

Make no mistake, friends - once you reach the hallowed halls of public office, the principles that impelled you to seek that office come smack up against the power structure in Washington. It's easy to make impassioned campaign promises based on your convictions, but not so easy to implement them once you get there. Too much money and power is at stake in the lucrative fields of private insurance, for-profit hospitals and Big Pharma.

Single-Payer is not "government-run medicine". We already have that in the VA system, where the providers work directly for and are paid by the government. Single-Payer is simply having one administrative body that pays health providers. Here's the Wikipedia definition of single-payer:
Single-payer health care is a term used in the United States to describe the payment of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers from a single fund. It differs from typical private health insurance where, through pricing and other measures taken by the insurer, the level of risks carried by multiple insurance pools as well as the coverage can vary and the pricing has to be varied according to the contribution of risk added to the pool. It is often mentioned as one way to deliver universal health care. The administrator of the fund could be the government but it could also be a publicly owned agency regulated by law.
Here's more about single-payer from Physicians for a National Health Program.

Insurance works by pooling risk. The larger the pool, the less each participant has to pay. But private, for-profit insurance companies game the system and boost their profits by excluding those who actually need medical care from their pools. Having a 'pre-existing condition' automatically disqualifies you from most private insurers. The result is that most Americans - even comfortably middle-class Americans - are one major illness away from bankruptcy.

This is absolutely criminal. Physicians for a National Health Program's tagline is "Health Care is a Human Right", and I believe that. Not only is it a human right, but it is beneficial for our country to have a healthy populace. The money saved by people being able to have access to preventive care, and comprehensive care when they need it would be staggering. If you are able to catch an illness such as cancer by a regular screening and early detection, instead of in a late stage which requires millions of dollars in treatment - do the math! If you are able to be treated by a doctor when you need it instead of ending up with a $100,000 emergency room bill because you don't have insurance - do the math! If you are able to get stay healthy, you won't be spreading disease to other healthy people. And don't forget about productivity; healthy people contribute a lot more to the economy than sick people - do the math!

But, unfortunately, these benefits conflict with insurance companies' needs. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with profit - except when it comes at the expense of peoples' lives. And health care is life-and-death. There are plenty of areas in which private insurance works - automobiles, homes, electronic gadgets - things that you choose to have, not that you have to have. The insurance industry is so large, wealthy and influential that they have managed to keep single-payer out of the national healthcare dialogue. They can be expected to do nothing else - they are fighting for their very survival. But the death of a corporation is not the same as the death of a human being. Corporations can come back to life.

So how can we fight this power?

By knowledge. By information. By numbers. By communication. By determination in the face of overwhelming odds against us. The more we talk about it, look into it for ourselves, and not just take the word of those who have a vested interest in the status quo, the more power we have.

The impact that Twitter has had upon the Iranian situation tells us that communication can change things. No, Twitter did not single-handedly transform public opinion - but it made a difference. And enough 'differences' add up - not immediately, but cumulatively. We're seeing it happen - not as fast as we'd like, but it's happening.

I'm going to a Nationwide Health Outreach meeting this Saturday in Van Nuys, sponsored by PDLA and other local progressive groups. We need to make enough noise that our elected representatives cannot ignore our voices. Since we can't funnel cash like the big boys, we have to give our representatives enough carrot and stick so that they are able to say, "I have to vote for single payer - my constituents will kick me out if I don't."

Like FDR before him, Obama said "Make me do it."