Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Obama's Waterloo?

History is repeating itself. I refer to my previous blog. But the Republicans are making it even worse.
Now it is not just “Socialism or the Big Bad Government take-over. It is not even “growing huge deficits” or “tax and spend Democrats”. Now they are attacking a very personally popular President.
How smart is that?

(Let me again state I, lefty that I am, do not care for the Obama pragmatism before I go on here.)

Senator Jim DeMint, Republican of South Carolina, gave Mr. Obama an opening to do just that the other day, and the president took it. Mr. DeMint called health care a “Waterloo moment” that could break Mr. Obama. The president struck back, declaring, “This isn’t about me.” But if Mr. Obama extends that line of attack to Republicans more broadly, and rams a bill through without their support, any claim he may have to bipartisanship will quickly evaporate.
(NYTimes, )

Maybe he should let go of that claim. They aren't really going to allow much bipartisanship anyway.
They are the party of “NO” too often.

Right-wing writer Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard told Republicans on his blog Monday that they need to resist the temptation to work with Democrats to find a solution to our health Care crisis. “This is no time to pull punches,” he wrote “Go for the kill.”
(from email)

And a more direct quotation of DeMint from the same email:

On Friday, Republican Sen. Jim DeMInt of South Carolina ginned up his troops with this line: “If we're able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.”

I also read somewhere that “Newt the Scoot” was another instigator of this stuff.

Now several questions occur to me.
Do I want the support of these guys on any bill? I will wonder why they support anything.
Do they understand that this President is still very popular personally? Do they understand how many American's will support an underdog or a perceived personal attack on a popular President? Duh!
Many of us were stupid enough to support G.W., and still do. Because we don't like personal attacks on our Presidents even when they are true.

The same holds true for Blue Dog Democrats. Not to mention if all these so-called Democrats are worried about is getting reelected, they might consider how even I am thinking about donating to get rid of them. Just because they irritate me. See even a lefty can have selfish moments without saying, “Well, maybe they have a point.”

I know it is nice to have Democrats control two branches of the Government at once but the Blue Dogs are not true Democrats to me. I voted for one here but I am wondering why I did. Yes, I do really know -lessor of the evils. Also, Supreme Court Judges are what the long-term is really about here so their votes are needed for that. Let's just hope they don't start pulling stuff with that too.

It is this. There is a blog I follow and on which I sometimes comment where the same person just comments that all who disagree are stupid idiots and the like. Except it is “STUPID IDIOTS!!!”. It ends the conversations basically for a few hours but many just go elsewhere to research-so it backfires.

So here I will resist calling the “Waterloo” Republicans stupid idiots or worse because it backfires.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Health Care Plans Again

I am sorry but this is a long one.

Historically health care plans seemed doomed to fail. Will they again? I researched some history of previous attempts. I learned that no matter which period of time, or which party, the arguments against the plans sure sound similar. The arguments for health care plans are similar. It is just that as time progressed the costs and the problems grew. So put it off again and let's talk about the costs to our kids and grandkids.

"When on July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare into law at the Harry S. Truman library, he said that it "all started really with the man from Independence".**

*Poen, Monte M.,"National Health Insurance", in The Harry S. Truman Encyclopedia, ed. Richard S. Kirkendall (Boston: G.K. Hall & Co, 1989): 251

The above website is excellent for research on former President Truman's views and ideas on health care in the U.S.

Here is the similar health care plan:

The most controversial aspect of the plan was the proposed national health insurance plan. In the November 19th address, President Truman called for the creation of a national health insurance fund, to be run by the federal government. This fund would be open to all Americans, but would remain optional. Participants would pay monthly fees into the plan, which would cover the cost of any and all medical expenses that arose in a time of need. The government would pay for the cost of services rendered by any doctor who chose to join the program. In addition, the insurance plan would give a cash balance to the policy holder to replace wages lost due to illness or injury.”

Here is the similar argument against it. Just not the communist part. Now it is the we don't want to be European stuff.

...The American Medical Association (AMA) launched a spirited attack against the bill, capitalizing on fears of Communism in the public mind. The AMA characterized the bill as "socialized medicine", and in a forerunner to the rhetoric of the McCarthy era, called Truman White House staffers "followers of the Moscow party line".* Organized labor, the main public advocate of the bill, had lost much of it's goodwill from the American people in a series of unpopular strikes. Following the outbreak of the Korean War, President Truman was finally forced to abandon the W-M-D Bill.” (same site)

Another piece of history:

...Going as far back as pre-Revolutionary War America, virtually the only support for primary care services to the poor in the United States came via local government in the form of either payments to private physicians or the hiring of a nurse or part-time physician within the local public health department.”

Article: the AMA Faces Down FDR and Wins Physician Executive, Jan-Feb, 1993 by Norbert Goldfield

found here

Very good articles from Norbert Goldfield on health care. I recommend you read them all. In another I found this synopsis on Eisenhower's plan.

In particular, Eisenhower recommended the "establishment of a limited federal reinsurance service to encourage private and not-for-profit health insurance organizations to offer broader health protection to more families.

...It indicates why the President of the AMA warned in his annual address to the House of Delegates that "our economic problems are not solved....As a matter of fact, these problems have increased. The socialistic trend and government intrusion into the business and affairs of the people have shown little evidence of change. The greatest battle for the preservation of democracy is yet to come.

For another, easier way to follow basic history of attempts to have any kind of health care insurance whether government or the business sector try this site:

I refer again to Norbert Goldfield writing in another history of health care article in 1992. On Nixon's attempt to reform health care:

Nixon's proposal, Family Health Insurance Plan (FHIP), called for a subsidized program for basic private insurance for low-income families and for all employers to provide private health insurance for employees and dependents. Nixon's employer mandate proposal may sound familiar, as it is very similar to Senator Edward Kennedy's current legislative proposal. When asked about this odd juxtaposition, Kennedy stated that he simply wants some form of health care legislation enacted into law.”

According to Mr. Goldfield's historical health care articles Nixon actually left much of his domestic policy to others as he felt foreign affairs were his strong suit.

The same old socialized medicine arguments came up along with others.

Health care became an issue for Reagan by the time he ran for President. Read debates with Pres. Carter for some. He was at one time hired to read a script for the AMA against Medicare and Medicaid. President Reagan did make cuts to the Carter health care budget. I found that somewhere. President Reagan is hard to research-his acting gets in the way.

So now I think I see that no matter how much the “middle-class” wants health care for all and is even willing to pay for it not much gets done. Mr. Goldfield discusses the reasons using the book, Thinking in Time; the Uses of History for Decision makers, by Richard Neustadt and Ernest May. Go to the 1992 article on Nixon and health care to get an overview of some of the book and the theories and recommendations.

The way I see it this is like putting off so many things. Maybe like not weatherproofing or not putting in a new furnace. I could go on but let's use the example of a needing a new roof for a house for many years.

If you had done it when you first knew there was a problem (let's say 15 yrs.) it would have cost $6000 for the whole roof. You were probably better able to afford it then. Now, it will cost $6000 for ½ of the roof and the $6000 is very hard to come by. At least it would be for me. In the meantime, you lived with leaks and a yearly do it yourself sort-of fix. A ceiling may be partially ruined and you probably have mold hiding somewhere.

If you still don't fix it, your investment is going to drop even more than it has and your kid, the one that inherits, is at best ending up with less. At best he/she will end up spending more money than they can get back.

How is that for a scenario of “put off 'till tomorrow what you could do today” and the costs. So think about that scenario when you hear about the costs to future generations. And remember the “socialist” argument has been around forever in one flavor or another. It used to be called communistic now that isn't useful so it is just the dreaded socialism. And costs go up and profits go up and fewer people get health care.

Your insurance company, if you have one, is already telling you and your doctor what procedures you can or can not have. Sometimes you are the one paying them to tell you. The drug insurance, if you have it, is telling you and your doctor what drugs you must “try” first before you can take what you and your doctor have decided is the best for your body. Your doctor, if he or she is a decent one, is putting up with insurance companies not paying them for weeks. Your doctor, if he or she is not so decent, is charging more to make up for that and more. If you live in a rural or outlying area you don't always have good access to health care because there aren't enough of you to make it pay or you don't have the facilities and equipment.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Growing Up and Looking Back

You know when I start thinking about my happy childhood I wonder why it was so happy-partly because of the extended family all around. Never any doubt in my mind I belonged. After moving out of the neighborhood, I had no trouble with fitting-in. I think being so happy for those first years of my life made me comfortable with self for years. Later, I felt inferior for some reason but some of that was normal and some was the town where we moved. That town had quite a “class system”. ( Now I know it wasn't just that particular town.)

Sometimes I miss the “clan” so. Especially I miss my mother. She was my guidance counselor and wise about most everything. I called her from wherever I lived for advice and wisdom until just a while before she died. I still talk to her often but the answers don't come. I feel so lost at times.

And yet, as the mother of a friend said when her last parent died, “Now we are the old-folks.” Yuk.
So I guess I am wanting to go back again to the happiest carefree days of my life: to the days of smoky, belching trains running by the house, to the huge yard, to the dirt of the yard, to the fights with my little brother, to the chores I thought I hated, to the paper dolls, to the hand-me downs from my big sister, and even to the trouble-maker big brother.

I miss the little red platform rocker and the old records my mother let me play over and over. I miss the Saturday night baths in front of the only heat in the house. I miss the most wonderful teachers and school administrators. I miss the janitor that played with us kids and made us feel even more special.
I miss the chat piles, our pet crows we raised from babies, the plum tree in the back yard and yes I miss the mulberry tree. I miss the rabbits dad raised back of the house. I really miss eating them. My mother could fix them so-o-o good. I know some are bothered by the thought but they were not pets, never were.
They were meat on the table and a little money for the family. We were glad to get both.

Those days were the “good ol' days”. Yes, they were hard but they were fun at that innocent age. I never knew we were from the wrong side of the tracks until many years later in my life. No shame for where I grew up just wonderful memories.

I just hope my son and yours kids have wonderful, happy memories like I do. I am sure they will but they will be their memories. Memories of their generation and they will someday sit and think of their “good ol' days” too.

Thanks to my husband for the picture of the wren.