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Archive for January, 2007

COMMENTARY: UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE: SERIOUS CAMPAIGN ISSUE OR ELECTION YEAR LIP SERVICE?

Posted in Miscellaneous on January 25th, 2007

THE REAL QUESTION IS, DOES AMERICA HAVE THE STOMACH TO CONTROL THE CORPORATIONS?

BarackObama.jpg Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, the man who is shaping up to be Hillary Clinton’s most troublesome competitor in the Democratic Party’s run up to the 2008 Presidential election, has hit the ground running with the observation, or is it a campaign promise, to work to secure universal health coverage for all Americans within six years.

With this observation, honorable that it is, Obama joins declared candidates John Edwards and Dennis Kunicich in supporting what is shaping up to be the major campaign issue of the upcoming presidential election.

“The time has come for universal health care in America,” Obama is quoted as telling a conference of the health care advocacy group, Families USA, observing that it is “wrong that 46 million (people) in this country are uninsured when the country spends more than any other nation on health care.”

Currently, Americans pay $15 billion in taxes to help offset the costs of caring for the uninsured, a figure that is a drop in the bucket when weighed against the total costs of this group’s health care that is borne by hospitals, doctors and those of us who are insured.

The sad fact is that, unlike the other countries that non-declared candidate, Obama, was referencing in his comments concerning the dollar cost to numbers of people covered ratio, nowhere is the insurance industry as out of control as it currently is here in the United States, where insurance companies are allowed to run rough shod over consumers merely because few, if any, of our elected officials have the stones to stand up to them.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself, here.

According to an AP wire story, Obama’s comments “echo a speech he made last April when he said Democrats “need to cling to the core values that make us Democrats, the belief in universal health care, the belief in universal education, and then we should be agnostic in terms of how to achieve those values.”

All of which is very cool and, hopefully, tells reams about the man that many are considering the greatest hope for the future of our country.

Standing in the way of such lofty ambitions, however, no matter how correct those ambitions may be, is the deep pockets insurance industry, which, as everyone knows, has prided itself these past thirty or so years in finding new and better methods of nickel and diming the majority of us, who do have health coverage, into the ground with co-pays, exclusions and gaps of service.

Aiding and abetting them in their actions is the ever-loyal Republican Party, who, as a whole, never met a handout that they would not jump through hoops to attain.

For this reason, before we can talk about universal anything, it is necessary that major ethics revisions be passed and enacted into law by the current Congress. Only with such legislation in place governing the behavior of our elected officials, can we have any hope of restricting the influence that major corporations have over Congress.

Congress has, for far too long now, advanced the agenda of the corporations over the needs of the American people. This is immoral, and the men and women complicit in making it a reality, criminal.

To have any hope of fixing this, we need national laws passed that would place all those criminals participating in this tyoe if activity in this country, in prison. And I do not mean one of those country club facilities intended for alleged white- collar criminals.

Cheating the American people should draw hard time. Only then can we be assured that our elected officials will do what they are elected to do and represent, as the Constitution says, “We, the people of the United States of America”.

Along with universal health care, and access for all to a superior education, this is a cause whose time has come.

But that is just my opinion. What do you think?

LIB – Editor

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COMMENTARY: IS CALIFORNIA GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT HEALTH INSURANCE?

Posted in Consciousness, Miscellaneous on January 10th, 2007

GOVERNOR SCHWARZENEGGER’S NEW PLAN WOULD COVER ALL

drugbottle.jpg As America’s largest state and as the state with the most uninsured people, it makes sense that California would lead the nation in providing insurance for all of its citizens, which is precisely what the Golden state will do if Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s new plan, released earlier today, becomes law.

Under the terms of the proposed legislation:

All adults would be required to purchase insurance. The price paid would be based on ability to pay. “If you can’t afford it, the state will help you buy it,” the Governor said, “but you must be insured.”

Employers with 10 workers or more would be required to provide insurance for their workers or pay 4% of their payroll to a state agency that would then negotiate with private insurers for worker coverage.

Doctors would be taxed 2% of their gross revenue and hospital’s 4%, money which would then be used to provide coverage to the uninsured.

Insurance providers would be forbidden from denying coverage to applicants based on pre existing conditions, a favorite scam of insurance companies, today.

Insurance providers would be mandated to spend at least 85% of their premium revenues on patient care, a move that would limit the amount companies are able to spend on administrative costs, profits, and those huge compensation packages for senior executives, currently a staple of the industry.

Additionally, the governors plan would expand the state’s Healthy Families program, providing insurance to children whose parents make less than three times the poverty level, which, according to the Los Angeles Times, “works out to about $60,000 for a family of four”.

As might be expected, California Republicans have pledged to oppose the Governor’s plan, moronically labeling it a tax on business.

Luckily for the people of the Golden State, the Republicans are in the minority in the state legislature and have little if any power to block the bill’s passage, which could be enacted into law with a simple majority vote and the signature of the governor.

The proposed legislation would go a long way toward salvaging the state’s beleaguered health care industry, currently floundering under the weight of the present system where virtually 20% of the people are uninsured.

LIB – Editor

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TOXIC FOOD

Posted in Miscellaneous, Pseudoscientific Babble, Toxic Food on January 5th, 2007

groceries1.jpg In her new book, Appetite for Profit: How The Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How To Fight Back, public health attorney and health policy lecturer Michele Simon studies the anatomy of food corporations and tells us why they can’t be trusted.

In the excerpt that follows, reprinted from Los Angeles magazine, Whole Life Times, Ms. Simon covers a range of topics, from nutrition labeling in restaurants, to how food giants distort the health benefits of their assembly line products and trick parents and school administrators into feeding our children garbage.

NUTRIWASHING PROCESSED FOODS
by Michele Simon

Instead of making their products healthier, food giants make them “seem” that way — with deceptive claims, self-congratulatory banners and junk science

The majority of the time, corporations feed the bulk of Americans. True, the demand for organic and local produce is on the rise, but far and away the largest segment of supermarket purchases in this country is pre-packaged, processed food. Not potatoes, but boxes of dehydrated, chemically-treated au gratin. Not avocado, but plastic containers (or tubes!) of stabilized, preserved “guacamole,” which, in one case, is only two-percent avocado.

Helping serve the processed food giants are the usual suspects: scientists, along with trade associations, lobbyists and public relations specialists who grease the wheels for favors and deregulation and help pull the wool over our shelf-scanning eyes. Their power over our government has left not just their pockets bulging, but the bellies, backs and buttocks of our obese, diabetic, sugar-injected nation.

Read On….

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