Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My letter to Jeff Merkley

Dear Senator Merkley,

Hello from Beaverton! My name is Edie ________, and I am writing to you, in brief, about the upcoming health care reform bills that will be presented to the Senate.

I am asking that you consider a strong public option along with informed, rational regulation of the insurance market. I also asking that you not to push through mandates. I would like to put through my reasons why:

1) A strong public option helps those who have been deemed un-insurable, usually due to chronic diseases, age or (shamefully) gender- based conditions, such as fungal infections, hormonal based illnesses or prior childbirth. By insuring these people, they would be able to receive a base level of preventive and palliative care that they otherwise would not be able to receive. This is the care that prevents expensive visits to emergency rooms that wind up being borne by taxpayers.

2) Along with a public option there must be an informed review of insurance regulations, and if possible an overhaul of how health insurance companies in this country do business, with an eye for transparency of price and choice in services paid for. There is little transparency in how doctors, clinic and hospitals are paid for their services, little transparency in how prices are fixed with certain hospitals and clinics and no competition whatsoever in terms of choice and price.

3) No mandates without the above. The Massachuetts model, while admirable, is still expensive for many families there making $50K and under ( I know only because I have school friends who live in the Boston area). In addition, there is still very little transparency.
Mandates work when you own property, such as house or a car, because you have a choice to rent a home, to rent office space or farm fields, to not drive by taking public transport or hiring taxi service or by participating in car share co-ops. owning property implies risk and responsibility, and so having insurance for property makes sure that risks and responsibility is adequately covered.
You cannot apply this same thinking to health. The human body is in a state of infinite and minute change and cannot be subject to a model of thinking that includes it in the same class as property. You cannot get rid of your body willingly, nor rent it from another party. Yes, there are risks to living , and there are responsibilities, but these cannot be equated with owning vehicles or owning real property. Humans require preventive and palliative care in ways that inanimate object do not.
The only way that a mandate could work is with a strong public option and strong Federal regulation so that there is true choice in purchasing such a plan.Otherwise, this is welfare for an industry that does not seem to care for the welfare of its customers.

In closing, may I say that I welcome your upcoming thoughts on this subject, and I look forward to a vigorous and thoughtful analysis by the Senate when you return in the fall.

May God Keep You,


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Saturday, August 22, 2009

On The President's lost of support amongst Progressive

We have all heard Dr. Krugman's schtick about Obama's lack of leadership- we heard this in the primaries; we heard this as late as April when it was clear that Mr. No Leadership Obama was going to take the candidacy. We heard Krugman's criticism of Obama's initial idea to make the health insurance more competitive and lower costs (anybody remember how happy Dr. Krugman was for mandates without checking the costs, as what was in Ms. Clinton's plan? Anyone?) And we have heard how Obama's overall, is too cerebral, too weak.

So, to paint Krugman's criticism, with polls being cited, as something new and unexpected is disingenous at best.

So, so much for Dr. Krugman (whom I deeply respect and admire; the studies that won the Nobel is truly amazing, and gives insight into not only human behaviour and trade ethics, it also can give an inout into how we, as a planet, can re-value what is important). Let's turn to polls.

That the president lost ground- from 70% overall to 58% overall- is not surprising. Why should it be? The economy is in the crapper, and though we have spent stimulus cash to help shore up the economy, many of us are suffering. The adminstration did not take the oppotunity re-regulate Wall Street after bailing out the banks. Jobs are elusive.

And then, Healthcare Reform. The Media has helped the Republican cause by focusing on protestors that act like feces throwing monkeys, not investigating lies and not doing the sadly simple research that many posters here on Daily Kos have done. And the Democrats, having been given a majority by the American people, have proven themselves to bumbling fools, focused on snatching defeat from the jaws of Victory (thanks, Eugene Robinson!). Obama, in trying to make the legislature work for the people, has inadvertantly shown a number of them to be whores.

But to then paint this as losing progressive support? Did the President ever have full Progressive support? Seriously?
I remember plenty of people that I was on the campaign trail in Oregon with would have not identified themselevs as progressives, while plenty progressives told me they were writing in Kucinich. I remember plenty of people last year, as Dr. Krugman said, that Obama's thoughtfulness is actually a weakness, and that he needs to scream and holler and carry on like a fool to show his passion.

I remember plenty of people on this very site ready to lash out against Obama with the passage of odious Prop 8 ( and lash out against African Americans over an incomplete poll; and not one apology, not one, when that poll was debunked.)

I am not surprised over the lowering of the President popularity rating, despite the hard work, our economy is still in a shitter. The adminstration did not take the opportunity to truly re-regulate banks and lending firms. Quite a number of Dems have shown themselves to be weak and whorish. It's easy to blame Obama for this.

But sorry. Obama already had enemies out for his neck as soon as he was elected- both on right and yes, definitely on the progressive left. He has death threats- written, verbal and implied-every single day since he became a candidate. He lost his mother to cancer, and his mother worried about the insurance coverage as she was dying, worried that she would not be able to take care of her children. Yet, Obama is portrayed as being a sellout, a weakling, lacking in leadership and simply out of touch.

Out of touch.

You can't lose something you don't have - and progressives' trust, whatever that is, whatever that means, is not what Obama seemed to have in the first place.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

On health care reform- it's personal

So, the past few weeks it has been healthcare reform debate. Actually, not so much of a debate as a reckoning: healthcare expenses will rise to be an unsustainable debt upon our country. By reforming how expenses are compensated, making premiums affordable, having an emphasis on preventive care and covering the majority of people in this country, healthcare can be a guaranteed resource in this country.

Of course, that's if you subscribe to reason, logic, order and ethics in your everyday life. For many of our house represetatives and Senators, they are fully for sale, not to be compared to prostitutes for they only sell their bodies. These representatives have sold their soul to stay in power. And for many people in this country, even though health care reform would benefit them, they are under the pathetic sway of heir own racism, fearing government even as they disproportionally benefit from it:

Military benefits, including VA healthcare
GI Bill for college
Federal subsidies for roads and bridges
EPA protection for air, soil and water
FDA protection for food and drugs
Local government funding police, fire services and parks

You get the picture. These are people are fine if they get benefits from the government; yet hate the idea that other people be they brown/black/yellow/white/purple/Klingons who also contributes services and taxes to this country. Of course, they gladly call themselves Christian.

Reason, logic, order and ethics- that's what is missing from the sturm und drang that this debate has generated.

Well, Edie, you may ask: How do you stand?

For me, it's personal. I pay for my own health insurance- $250/month with a $4500 deductible and 85% coverage. No prescription benefit. No vision. No dental. Vision and dental I pay for myself, and because of a Costco membership, I am able to get decent glasses at a good price. But for my healthcare, I must pay for exams and tests myself. I use Zoomcare here in the Metro area, and it is cheaper to pay out of pocket than to submit paperwork to BCBS, even though it should count towards my deductible. So I am basically paying for all of my healthcare needs, and still paying premiums for medical emergency coverage, which would still leaves me close to $5000 in the hole for expenses if something was to happen to me and it costs more than $5000.

That's $3000/year I could be doing something else with.

If we were to have real reform, which would either include a public option and/or coops, that could be cut in half, if not by two thirds. That's real money, for better coverage and care.

We, as a country, need health care reform.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Underground Love Story and My Neighbor Amy

So, I am now obsessed over a new discovery, who is from my old neighborhood in Broklyn, and whose family is also from the Carribbean: NiLea,whose label, Underground Love Story was featured in ReadyMade magazine.

She has a true sense of feminine form, an eye for fabric and detail and her dresses are just very romantic and very sweet. She was featured in ReadyMade not just yet another Hipster in Brooklyn(tm) but as a person who is working a day job and still rocking her side businesses (she also has a vintage concern, and you can find that here, at NileaP Vintage.

Another absolutely brilliant person is my neighbor Amy, who makes truly exquisite scarves, hats and purses. I went over to her house for a tea party, which was truly an afternoon cocktails party, and was privileged to purchase a very pretty scarf for fall, in jewel blue and black tones, with beading, and a wonderful knit purse, also for fall, in golds and browns and flecks of jeweling. I paid far too little, and I really, really hope that she gets on Etsy- her stuff is very fun!

And yes, my self imposed summer vacation is over. I will start blogging more about politics, about the status of my documentary, perhaps some recipes and much more, starting tomorrow.

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