“We Are All Uninsured Now”

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Bush Administration, conservatism, Health Care

Laurence J. Kotlikoff writes in the Boston Globe:

BIG NUMBERS, like 45 million uninsured Americans, are hard to grasp. But that number came home to me at a recent conference. The keynote speaker was former Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Her topic was our healthcare system, and her message was personal and anguished.

The gist was that even she lives in constant fear of major uninsured health bills. Not her own — those of her son. He can’t afford insurance because his son — her grandchild — has a preexisting condition.

As I listened, a light dawned: O’Connor and the rest of us with health coverage are also uninsured. We too face terrible, albeit more remote, healthcare risks — the risk that our employer will drop our plan, that Medicare will go bust, that our plan won’t cover our needs, that premiums will eat us alive, that our doctor will stop taking our insurance, that long-term care will wipe us out, and that our uninsured friends and family members will need major financial help.

These risks are entirely avoidable. We can have an efficient, transparent system that includes everyone; treats everyone fairly; covers all the basics, including prescription drugs, home healthcare, and nursing home care; and costs little more than what we now spend. But we can’t get there via the piecemeal reforms that President Bush, most of his would-be successors, and our state governors are advocating.

To clarify, state governors are not necessarily “advocating” piecemeal state-by-state solutions. It’s more correct to say that the states are stepping into the leadership void and crafting whatever solutions they can. Currently on the Right, “let the states do it” is a favorite health care talking point. On the other hand, righties love to point to the failures of several state programs to argue that the same programs would fail at the national level, also.

As Ezra Klein explains here in detail, “providing health care for all citizens is one of those tasks, like national defense, that the states are simply unequipped to manage on their own.” States cannot tackle the underlying cause of the problem, which is that the private health insurance industry and other moneyed interests are setting the rules and calling the shots. Any solutions the states come up with will be no better than work-arounds.

Kotlikoff writes that we seem to be heading “toward a balkanized healthcare system with the old in Medicare, the poor in Medicaid, most workers in employer plans, and the losers — the otherwise uninsured — in highly subsidized, limited-coverage plans. Loser plans.” But as we’ve seen with the S-chip controversy, right wingers don’t even want to pay for the “loser plans.”

Although he seems to understand the problem, Kotlikoff’s “solution” is for Washington to hand out vouchers that people can use to purchase health insurance. The private health insurance industry and other moneyed interests would still setting the rules and calling the shots. Not a solution, I say.

But his larger point is one politicians, particularly those in Washington, need to wake up to. The health insurance crisis is no longer just a matter of poor people, or the unemployed, being left uninsured. The health insurance crisis has spread to the middle class. If even a former Supreme Court justice is worried, it is spreading to higher-income citizens as well.

Righties are still pretending that people without health insurance are somehow all poor and undeserving. The uninsured are supposed to be content that, at least, if they get really sick, and treatment can no longer be postponed, they can show up at an emergency room and wait most of a day to see a doctor so they can be “stabilized” and sent home. I don’t expect the hard core Right to see the problem until they’re the ones dumped out of the system, leaving them one aneurysm away from death or financial ruin.

According to a recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll, 64 percent of Americans think government should provide a national health insurance program for all Americans, even if this would require higher taxes, and 73 percent think that government should provide health insurance for all children under the age of 18.

In 1988, Michael Dukakis made health care reform an important part of his platform. Back then, most middle class Americans were still paying only a small deduction from their paychecks for insurance plans that let them see any doctor they wished without worrying about networks. I remember that when George H.W. Bush was asked about healthcare reform, he looked somewhat baffled and said (all together now) “America has the best health care system in the world,” and he didn’t understand why Dukakis wanted to fix something that wasn’t broken. I think, back then, most middle class Americans bought that argument.

And in 1993, when the Clintons brought out their health care plan, the insurance industry’s “Harry and Louise” ads effectively frightened people to stick by the status quo. I had problems with the Clinton’s approach, but it’s interesting to me that the Right still speaks of it as a failure. It didn’t fail, because it was never tried. What is failing is the status quo.

I have thought for years that, some day, we’d reach a tipping point at which enough Americans were personally impacted by the failures and inequities of The Best Health Care System in the World that they would be desperate to change it. I think we’ve reached that tipping point. Even corporations are now calling for reform, although they are still talking about a “market-led” system. They can’t yet see that sticking to a “market-led” system is what brought us to this crisis, and all the “market-led” solutions amount to using tax dollars to keep the “private” health insurance beast alive. People are so invested in “government is not the solution” ideology that they make government the solution for maintaining a failed “private” system.

And even the states, the “laboratories” of new policy, are hamstrung by right-wing ideology. In today’s Los Angeles Times, the speaker of the California Assembly, Fabian Nuñez, describes the fight within the Golden State:

In the next 15 to 18 days before the Legislature adjourns, the narrow window of opportunity we have to achieve healthcare reform in California — reform that expands access for those who don’t have health coverage and keeps costs down for those who do — will start to close. If history is a guide, we can expect an anything-goes campaign in the next few weeks to delay, derail and demonize healthcare reform. We need to focus on some basic truths to keep that campaign from succeeding.

First, for nearly 10 months now, the reform proposals I put forward with Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata have been vetted in the legislative process, fiscally analyzed by academics and scrutinized by the media. Yet you can count on opponents saying, “We’re moving too fast; let’s slow down.” Practically speaking, what they are really trying to do is kill any reform — delay means death to controversial big-issue legislation. Given more time, the forces against healthcare reform will find ways to take more potshots at the proposals. We don’t need a special session of the Legislature later this year. We don’t need to punt to the 2008 election year.

After a discussion of various proposals, he continues,

Those who want to see more complete coverage also will object to our plan because they’d rather see a single-payer system — in which a government-run entity contracts with doctors and hospitals and handles all claims.

I embrace the idea; it is a noble goal and may one day prove to be the ultimate answer. It’s overwhelmingly supported by legislative Democrats and has growing support from Californians. But in 2007, a single-payer plan would be vetoed by the Republican governor just as he did the version the Legislature sent him in 2006. Sacrificing the good for the perfect doesn’t make sense in the world of public policy.

That’s the tune we’re all singing. Most Americans know what the solution to our problem is. What’s standing in the way is the Right. And the Right has so dominated politics in recent years that even progressive politicians are inhibited from bringing the the solution they really want to the table. Instead, they patch together something less comprehensive and less workable and hope it won’t be completely eviscerated by the Right before it comes to a vote.

And then, when the state program fails, the Right will point to it and say, see? Government doesn’t work.

Regarding S-chip, Bob Herbert writes in today’s New York Times:

The program is popular because it works. It’s cost effective and there is wide bipartisan support for its expansion. But President Bush, locked in an ideological straitjacket, is adamant in his opposition.

In addition to the new rules drastically curtailing the ability of governors to expand local coverage by obtaining waivers from the federal government, the president has threatened a veto of Congressional efforts to fund a more robust version of the overall program.

“It’s stunning,” said New York’s Gov. Eliot Spitzer. “He says he’s going to veto health care for kids because it’s too expensive at the same time that these continuing resolutions for the war, where we don’t even know what the cost is, are going through unabated. This is insanity.

“Everybody agrees this is the right thing to do except the Bush administration.”

States want to expand S-chip to middle class children not to undermine health insurance industry profits, but because more and more middle-class children are uninsured.

Wherever there are large numbers of families without coverage, you will find children who are suffering needlessly and, in extreme cases, dying. They don’t get the preventive care or the attention to chronic illness that they should.

“That has not only an immediate effect on their development,” said Mr. Spitzer, “but a long-term cost to society that is incalculable.” …

… Administration officials have argued that the CHIP program should adhere closely to its original intent of limiting coverage to families only slightly above the official poverty line. They said there is a danger that families with higher incomes would begin substituting CHIP for private insurance coverage.

The reality is that under the administration’s approach enormous numbers of children in families without a lot of money will be left with no coverage at all, private or otherwise. The expansion of CHIP is the most efficient, cost-effective way of reaching those youngsters.

And here we come to the plain truth:

What’s happening is cruel. Children who should be eligible for CHIP are being held hostage to policies driven by a desire to protect the big insurance companies and an ideology that views CHIP, correctly, as yet another important step on the road to universal health care.

Ronald Reagan, one of the tribunes in the fight against Medicare and Medicaid back in the ’60s, pumped up the warnings against “socialized medicine” by saying that if Medicare becomes a reality “you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.”

I wonder what crazy things the ideologues think would happen if CHIP is expanded to cover the children who have no health insurance today.

The whole bleeping nation is being held hostage by right-wing insanity. When’s it going to stop?

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46 Comments

39 Comments

  1. paradox  •  Aug 28, 2007 @9:34 am

    It stops when we snap out of our denial about what’s been done to us.

    A good start would be for Sandra Day O’Connor to get soaked with the furious spit of our citizens if she ever dares to step out in public again.

    The jackal bitch stole the election and smashed the Democracy for her filthy republican brethren, then she has the chutzpah to whine about her family health care problems. I feel nothing but contempt.

    We’ll start to snap out the insanity with the truth. It sets one free, remember? Our country was stolen from us. We have to fight to get it back. Then the psychosis will stop.

    Rot in hell, may the fires of hell shrivel your evil, twisted soul forever, Sandra Day O’Connor.

  2. Virginia  •  Aug 28, 2007 @10:13 am

    I’m fortunate to be a participant (like Senators, Congressmen, Justices, etc.) in the Federal government health benefits program. Great in the sense that you and your spouse are guaranteed coverage for life if you make it to retirement. However, that still leaves a big source of worry for me. My two children, a son and a duaghter, will lose coverage when they hit age 22, an event now getting imminent. They are both healthy, but the idea that people in their 20s don’t need health coverage is insane. The slings and arrows can hit any of us anytime: car accidents, burns, cancers, any number of commuicable deseases, tick fever, West nile virus, TB, bird flu, not to mention pregnancies and possible birth complications – it’s all out there and can strike any age.

    It may be many years, if ever, before my kids have stable jobs with reliable coverage. This is a huge gap and a huge source of worry for me, one which I would not have if we lived in a country with UHC. How can conservatives be comfortable with this? Don’t they worry about their kids’ futures?

  3. maha  •  Aug 28, 2007 @11:05 am

    Don’t they worry about their kids’ futures?

    Apparently not. For example, here I wrote about a young woman who is a frequent guest right-wing mouthpiece on cable talk shows who was practically bragging that she didn’t have health insurance. She said it “didn’t make sense” to pay for health insurance when she only saw a doctor once or twice a year. More recently I linked to this twit, who complains about young and healthy people having to pay for the health care of old and sick people.

    Another factor — I don’t have data on this, but it has long seemed to me that the bulk of hard-core support for the Right is coming from people who entered their late teen and early adult years in the late 1970s to early 1980s. This is not to say that the entire Gen X group thinks that way, but I believe a disproportionate number of them do. I think the bulk of them who married and had kids haven’t quite hit the point at which their kids are leaving college and losing their health insurance. And one of the most remarkable tendencies of righties is that they can’t see a problem until it happens to them.

  4. We Are The 801  •  Aug 28, 2007 @12:14 pm

    This is a bit off-topic, Maha, but– about this idea of conservatives and this no-understanding-until-it-happens-to-them syndrome: I wouldn’t be surprised if you have already touched on this, but there seems to be a relationship between the ability to empathise with others and (for those who are religious) the particular religious model they live by.

    What I mean is, look at the reasons most fundamentalists get involved in it. I was reminded of this again seeing youtube clips on Amanpour’s “God’s Warriors” segment on that “Battle Cry” group in San Francisco. Everyone (including the minister) got involved with their brand of Christianity because of an out-of-control lifestyle (usually centred around drugs and/or sex) & wanting to belong to a group of believers etc. etc. What struck me with everyone interviewed is how utterly self-centred they were, their reasons for becoming a Christian.

    Contrast this with my experience in the late 90s when I was a part of liberal Christian circles (liberal Anglicans, Quakers & UUs especially)– certainly many of the people I met found consolation in a personal god, etc. but their main focus was how to help OTHERS– and not in some judgemental way, but coming from an actual sense of empathy.

    I just think it is indicative of a certain mindset. I know there’s been much talk about the authoritarian streak in many conservatives, but this aspect of a lack or even REFUSAL to empathise with others is something I would be interested in reading from you, Maha (you would articulate this much better than me). Just some food for thought…

  5. biggerbox  •  Aug 28, 2007 @12:17 pm

    Thank you, maha, for some excellent posts on this topic. Health coverage makes me so mad I get tongue-tied.

    The righties seem to spend so much time imagining the horrors of socialized medicine or unemployed insurance executives that they have no imagination left to think about what it might be like to be sick and uninsured. Of course, should they accidentally start to think about someone else, they have some excellent platitudes to ease their minds, like “they can go to an emergency room.”

    ‘Young and healthy’ is great, until it isn’t. I was a physically-fit 21 year-old who’d recently ridden his bicycle across the country when I was diagnosed with my first cancer. A high school classmate lost her lower leg in a climbing accident. Luckily we each had coverage from our parents, but had either even happened a year or two later? Yipes.

    For years I’ve been hoping we’d see change when the big employers like GM realized they’d be richer if they could hand all their healthcare obligations to the federal government, like their foreign competitors. Sadly, by the time they started to realize they needed to offload, we’d entered into the Republican ‘devil-take-the-hindmost’ era, where it’s OK to just dump people, without worrying about how or if they get picked up.

    Imagine, a President who would rather be seen defending the profits of insurance companies than caring for sick children. (Which is doubly infuriating, since most states hire those same insurance companies to administer their SCHIP programs anyway!)

    My hope is that the extreme ideology of the Bushistas will shock the American people into realizing that they need to do something to take control.

  6. KyCole  •  Aug 28, 2007 @12:34 pm

    My 26 year old daughter has health insurance that she and her husband must buy themselves. His job has no coverage and her job is running our little two person shop. She went to the doctor for her annual check-up and her insurance paid NOTHING. She says it will give her some coverage only if she gets hit by a bus. My 20 year old is struggling in college and I worry what will happen to her when her father is no longer able to carry her on his policy. My Republican parents, on the other hand, are both retired from government jobs and enjoy wonderful coverage. They don’t seem to realize that their attitude that “people without insurance are just losers” may at some point hit much closer to home than they anticipated.

  7. sniflheim  •  Aug 28, 2007 @1:14 pm

    801, you can see more in Sara Robinson’s Cracks in the Wall series at Orcinus.

  8. sniflheim  •  Aug 28, 2007 @1:40 pm

    On the actual topic, I myself have the privilege, thanks to HIPAA, of paying $405 a month plus copays of $25. At this rate I may have to start hanging out in restrooms, waiting for wealthy Republicans.

  9. jim  •  Aug 28, 2007 @1:45 pm

    Outstanding post. I’ve been interested in this area for the past 35 years as part of the drug industry. I have my own site up and running which looks at all the systems I can find in the world, ours with it’s problems is still the best, but as you said the status quo isn’t going to make it anylong. Trust me, Hillary’s plan would have failed. It was a complete attempted takeover of 17% of the GDP. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be forced into the type of system she had planned. I’ve read it and it was beyond scary. Thanks for your input. Enjoyed it,

  10. maha  •  Aug 28, 2007 @2:02 pm

    Trust me, Hillary’s plan would have failed. It was a complete attempted takeover of 17% of the GDP.

    How much of our GDP is being eaten up by health care related costs now? I honestly don’t know.

  11. A Canadian Reader  •  Aug 28, 2007 @3:13 pm

    Since my (self-employed) autumn work schedule hasn’t really kicked in yet, I have time to answer your question about the % of GDP eaten up by health care. Here’s what I found:

    “In the United States, which has had both a high level of health spending per capita and a relatively high rate of real growth in that spending, the share of GDP devoted to health grew from 8.8% of GDP in 1980 to 15.2% of GDP in 2003 (Exhibit 5). This almost 7 percentage-point increase in the health share of GDP is larger than increases seen in other high-income countries.” (from the Kaiser Family Foundation website). And from the same website: according to the OECD, in 2003, health costs per person were $2,998 in Canada vs. $5,711 in the U.S. (all U.S. $). The question is: has this additional spending translated in better health outcomes for the population as a whole? We know that the answer is a resounding “no”!

    Maha, you may have already cited the article below from the Bureau of Labour Education, University of Maine on the costs/benefits of the U.S. medical system:
    dll.umaine.edu/ble/U.S.%20HCweb.pdf

    And check out this article, published in Canadian Medical Association Journal (unfortunately, their new president is a cheerleader for privatized medicine, but they obviously publish differing points of view) on the sustainability paradox and health care:

    http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/full/177/1/51?ct

    Happy reading.

  12. quixote  •  Aug 28, 2007 @3:14 pm

    We don’t need health insurance. We need health care.

    (May I say it again? Louder?)

    WE DON’T NEED HEALTH INSURANCE. WE NEED HEALTH CARE.

    I’m like the previous commenter. This whole issue makes me so mad, I’m either sputtering or yelling.

    One of the most maddening things is the idiotic fallacy that there can even be a market solution. Simple example: the best prevention is a one shot vaccine. It’s given to healthy, not-at-all-desperate people who can be choosy about price. So it can’t be expensive. And there’s no repeat business. Profits: minimal. Benefit to people: priceless. The market will never — note that: never — deliver something like that. It’s a social good, and has to be provided by a social effort, aka government action.

    In other, subtler, ways we’re losing out on the promise of leading edge biomedicine because profits cost us cures. They really do.

  13. quixote  •  Aug 28, 2007 @3:30 pm

    Re the proportion of GDP going to health care costs: 16% in 2004, and the proportion was rising, so it’s higher now. (Projections are 25-35% by 2050.) Figures from The Economists View

  14. maha  •  Aug 28, 2007 @3:33 pm

    Canadian Reader — thank you. So, Jim in #9 was certain Hillary Clinton’s plan would have eventually eaten 17 percent of GDP. However, without Hillary Clinton’s plan, health care costs are rapidly approaching about the same percent of GDP. As I suspected.

  15. We Are The 801  •  Aug 28, 2007 @4:06 pm

    sniflheim, thanks for the lead! :-)

  16. Pat  •  Aug 28, 2007 @9:40 pm

    Universal Healthcare will stimulate our economy, in a much better way than no-bid contracts for former military but now privatized war functions provided. It will provide jobs. economies of scale, and a safety net for all citizens.

    The protests we are hearing represent a thinly veiled attempt to maintain a corporate lock on the industry. Major insurance carriers badly want that money running through them rather than government managed direct to provider solutions.

  17. blogenfreude  •  Aug 30, 2007 @9:18 pm

    Will this make her rethink her vote to install the Dear Leader? No. I heard her on WNYC last year – she was unapologetic even as thousands of soldiers and hundreds of thousands of civilians died. Like it or not, blood is on Sandy-baby’s hands. Anyone with a pulse could have figured out that George W. Bush would be deadly.

  18. r€nato  •  Aug 30, 2007 @9:20 pm

    I’d like to second the emotion of the first commenter re: Sandra Day O’Connor, to wit: fuck that twat. She and her 4 co-conspirators share some measure of responsibility for the Bush legacy of war, death and debt.

  19. ed  •  Aug 30, 2007 @9:43 pm

    One wonders if Ms. O’Connor would take the same position (and publicly) if her own grandchild was not so directly effected. As with Nancy Reagan and stem cell research, Dick Cheney and gay rights, yet again, the key difference between liberal and right wing is made apparent. Liberals care for others, right wingers only their own interests.

  20. Lolly  •  Aug 30, 2007 @9:53 pm

    I wonder if Sandy Baby’s son and grandson realize that she is ultimately responsible for their lack of insurance? That a Gore presidency might very well have addressed their problems?

    Will this horrid, self-centered disgrace to her profession feel any remorse whatsoever if, G-d forbid, her son or her grandson have to pay a horrific price for her treasonous behavior?

  21. Mooser  •  Aug 30, 2007 @10:06 pm

    Don’t you folks know there’s an (un)declared war on? And Goddam your liberal hides when it’s over is when we have to pay for it. It was paid for with borrowed money, and we have to pay it back!
    Do you think the Iraqis have state sponsored health care? Oh, they do? Well, why do you think we’re fighting over there so they don’t follow us here with their Saddamist health care system? That’s why we’re fighting over there.
    Anyway, take your Stalinist health care back to Russia, commies! We can’t afford $12 billion a month so your sniveling… What’s that? The War On Iraq costs about $12 billion a month? Well, why do you think we’re fighting over there so they can’t follow us here…

  22. r€nato  •  Aug 30, 2007 @11:12 pm

    Mooser, I’ve been thinking that that’s an excellent idea. The person who wants to be the next president should promise to get us out of Iraq, take the money we’re spending there and put it into nationalized healthcare.

  23. global yokel  •  Aug 30, 2007 @11:38 pm

    If Sandra Day O’Connor really cared about health care and other issues that impact the lives of everyday citizens she wouldn’t have cast that miserable vote in the Bush vs. Gore case. After that travesty, I’m surprised that the woman has the nerve to show her face in public.

  24. Steve J.  •  Aug 30, 2007 @11:38 pm

    Pat writes: “Universal Healthcare will stimulate our economy,…”

    I agree and I think we should push this point. Let’s say we have a system as good as Germany’s. The Germans pay about $3,000 per capita, we pay about $6,000. Assuming we could approach the German system, that would reduce our spending to $4,000 per capita, about a 33% saving. We spend something like $1.8 TRILLION year, so we’d save about $600 billion.

  25. Joyful Alternative  •  Aug 30, 2007 @11:51 pm

    Adam Smith would love single-payer universal health insurance because entrepreneurship would boom. People with employer-supplied health insurance stay put, very reluctantly, because they don’t dare risk losing it, and in many states health insurance is unavailable or unaffordable.

  26. JC  •  Aug 30, 2007 @11:55 pm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baumol%27s_cost_disease

    I just want to interject the concept of Baumol’s cost disease, an economic theory that explains why we cannot allow the market to lead the pricing of healthcare.

    From Wikipedia:

    “In a range of businesses, such as the car manufacturing sector and the retail sector, workers are continually getting more productive due to technological innovations to their tools and equipment. In contrast, in some labor-intensive sectors that rely heavily on human interaction or activities, such as nursing, education, or the performing arts there is little or no growth in productivity over time. As with the string quartet example, it takes nurses the same amount of time to change a bandage, or college professors the same amount of time to mark an essay, in 2006 as it did in 1966.”

    This is what is wrong with healthcare.

  27. Earwicker23  •  Aug 31, 2007 @1:46 am

    After I watch the documentary Sicko, I went to the web and read the text of HR676, which would enact a singlepayer Health Care system financed by a 4.5% Social Security Tax, would extend coverage to everyone, would eliminate the insurance companies, and would make all health care facilities not-for-profit (without comprimising significantly the ability of health care professionals to receive an appropriate payment for their services).
    After reading the bill, my thought was that anyone who opposed this bill was either a crook or a fool. I realize that it needs some tweaking to include CAM therapies and ensure health freedom, but that’s why we have hearings and a legislative process (as opposed to the current practice of a legislative process designed to transfer money to the rich).
    HR676 would deal with the current practices by buying the existing hospitals back from their privatized owners. That’s OK with me–let the rich take the money and run–just stop messing up our Health Care System.

  28. jimmy james  •  Aug 31, 2007 @2:17 am

    Yep, Paradox nailed it for me too in the first comment.

    Post 28 nails it too. If the rethugs really believed in an ownership society universal health care would allow people the risk to make a go at a business.

    America’s Real God: Profits

    http://www.ohiomm.com/blogs/blog_mass_destruction/2007/08/26/americas-real-god-profits/ID=178/

  29. BCT  •  Aug 31, 2007 @3:06 am

    Great post and I’m glad O’Connor finally gets it. I’d just like to point out something that’s overlooked all to frequently. The Boston Globe article you started with states there are “45 million uninsured Americans”. What this doesn’t tell you is the census defines this number as those without any insurance for the full year. Here’s the direct quote from their website (use the website link for this post, it’s a pdf file). You can find the quote on page 18 in the “What is Health Insurance” section.

    “People were considered “insured” if they were covered by any type of health insurance for part or all of the previous calendar year. They were considered “uninsured” if they were not covered by any type of health insurance at any time in that year.”

    In other words, if you lost your insurance on January 2, and stayed uninsured unit Dec 31 of the following year you would be counted as insured for both years under the census report. I have no idea how many are actually uninsured at a given time, but it’s more than 45 million.

  30. BCT  •  Aug 31, 2007 @3:09 am

    Oops, I should have been clearer. Click on my initials Comment by BCT to get to the census website.

  31. cereal breath  •  Aug 31, 2007 @7:45 am

    i’ve been rolling the dice with healthcare for ten years now, no insurance; yearly clinic check-ups; no dental care at all. i’m still alive and healthy, but if i do get sick, i’m completely fucked. i will be in debt for the rest of my life, and it is damn near inevitable that i will need care at some point. the fact that my government is so in bed with the human gambling industry, A.K.A health insurance industry , makes me want to puke. “of the people, by the people, for the people” didn’t a republican say that? can we start having that now, please? i say, make it a priority in the next presidential election, let’s vote on the motherfucker and see where we stand.

  32. Dean  •  Aug 31, 2007 @8:51 am

    One wonders if Ms. O’Connor would take the same position (and publicly) if her own grandchild was not so directly effected. As with Nancy Reagan and stem cell research, Dick Cheney and gay rights..
    Comment by ed

    No.

    Another short answer to a long question.

  33. Buddy  •  Aug 31, 2007 @9:58 am

    As a physician who lived in Europe, I see the shortcomings of our health care system everyday. You cannot even begin to imagine!

  34. Nick  •  Aug 31, 2007 @11:04 am

    What Paradox said. Blow us, Sandy.

  35. Mike Alexander  •  Aug 31, 2007 @11:37 am

    It will end only when the Republicans face a massive defeat at the polls. Here’s the way I see it. The four biggest things the government does is Social Security, Medicare, National Defense/Security and debt servive. The first two are Democratic programs that provide benefits to a Democratic constituency. The latter two are Republican programs that provide benefits to a Republican constituency. (Debt service supports deficit spending to provide tax cuts, one of the two major GOP sales points).

    A massive Democratic victory would allow the GOP programs to be scaled way back (the latter one by raising taxes ala Clinton only to a greater extent). In the space created a new nationa health program could replace Medicare as the Democratic crown jewel, create legions of new Democrats and squeeze Republicans out of power for a generation.

    To do this we must make sure than Republicans own this upopular war and that they own these deficits created by their tax cuts and excessive military spending. We must send a SCHIP bill to the presdeint that does the right thing and which he will veto. We must swiftboat the Reps on this issue in the general election next year. If Obama is nominated then Republican attack adds must be used as proof that Republicans are subconsciously racists. If it is Hilliary then they attack adds must be pained as subcoscions rape fantasies by uptight Republicans. And so on.

  36. The Skeptical Cynic  •  Aug 31, 2007 @1:10 pm

    Sandra Day O’Connor, unrepentant political trollop that she is, should be picketed at any event at which to has the unmitigated gall to appear.
    She should be castigated, shunned and maligned at every opportunity. She and her ilk should never be allowed to “go gently into that goodnight”. She should be constantly made aware in this life the misery and suffering in which she and the other co-conspirators loosed upon the world.
    Can anyone,
    1. not intellectually challenged or willfully, purposefully and contemptuously ignorant;
    honestly believe that had the Supreme Court in December 2000, not rendered a decision so wreaking with the stench of “politics” at it most putrefying rottenness that none dare claim authorship,
    2. that millions of innocent Iraqi men woman and children would now be dead, countless other murdered, raped, robbed and looted;
    3. a sovereign nation which posed no threat to America completely destroyed;
    4. a Social Security Trust Fund surplus bankrupted as well as a budget surplus blown on a tax cut whose principle beneficiaries were the top .01%
    5. the president would allow a major U.S city and its inhabitants to founder in a catastrophic flood because of the inaction of the incompetent political hack he put in charge of FEMA.
    6. that we’d be suffering under an administration peopled with religious fanatics, ideological incompetents;
    7. an America in debt to Communist China of $1.3 TRILLION dollars,
    8. America borrowing from the rest of the world at the rate of $2.5 BILLION dollars A DAY;
    9. a U.S. President who took swore an oath to defend and protect the U.S. Constitution referring to it as ‘… just a goddamn piece of paper.”
    10. that more bitterness, mistrust and hatred toward America would be engendered than ever before in the history of the United States.

    Oh, there’s more but just thinking about them and O’Connor whining about her son not be able to get health insurance because of her grandson’s pre-existing condition makes me want to throw up.

  37. bartcopfan  •  Aug 31, 2007 @3:52 pm

    What paradox said at #1.

    Sandy’s a typical Republican’t: she doesn’t know a problem exists until it happens to her (or her family). Then, it’s a terrible crisis.

  38. bartcopfan  •  Aug 31, 2007 @3:56 pm

    “…And one of the most remarkable tendencies of righties is that they can’t see a problem until it happens to them….”

    Sorry I missed that in the comments, maha. All I can say is, yep.

  39. jumbled  •  Aug 31, 2007 @9:30 pm

    Poor baby Sandra has been hit close to home with the health insurance issue. Well, sheeeet, it’s only fair that some crap from this admin hit her since she was so instrumental in placing this pig in office.

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