David at AfterDowningStreet had one of the most excellent links provided to The War Resisters League that breaks down the truth of where your tax dollar goes and how the government plays games to hide the info from you (showing that their calculations are far different than the reality). You can find the pdf for the Federal Pie Chart here to download and read offline.
Total Outlays (Federal Funds): $2,650 billion MILITARY: 54% and $1,449 billion NON-MILITARY: 46% and $1,210 billion
The breakdown is as follows:
• Military Personnel $129 billion
• Operation & Maint. $241 billion
• Procurement $143 billion
• Research & Dev. $79 billion
• Construction $15 billion
• Family Housing $3 billion
• DoD misc. $4 billion
• Retired Pay $70 billion
• DoE nuclear weapons $17 billion
• NASA (50%) $9 billion
• International Security $9 billion
• Homeland Secur. (military) $35 billion
• State Dept. (partial) $6 billion
• other military (non-DoD) $5 billion
• “Global War on Terror” $200 billion [We added $162 billion to the last item to supplement the Budget’s grossly underestimated $38 billion in “allowances” to be spent in 2009 for the “War on Terror,” which includes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan]
• Veterans’ Benefits $94 billion
• Interest on national debt (80%) created by military spending, $390 billion
• Health/Human Services
• Soc. Sec. Administration
• Education Dept.
• Food/Nutrition programs
• Housing & Urban Dev.
• Labor Dept.
• other human resources.
• Interest on debt (20%)
• Government personnel
• Justice Dept.
• State Dept.
• Homeland Security (15%)
• International Affairs
• NASA (50%)
• other general govt.
• Homeland Security (15%)
• Energy (non-military)
• Environmental Protection
• Nat. Science Fdtn.
• Army Corps Engineers
� Fed. Comm. Commission
• other physical resources
Let’s compare our spending to the others in the world and see how we stack up:
U.S. Military Spending vs. The World
U.S. military spending – Dept. of Defense plus nuclear weapons (in $billions) – is equal to the military spending of the next 15 countries combined.
These numbers show military expenditures for each country. Some say that U.S. military spending will naturally be higher because it has the highest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of any country. The United States accounts for 47 percent of the world’s total military spending, however the U.S.’s share of the world’s GDP is about 21 percent. Also note that of the top 15 countries shown, at least 12 are considered allies of the U.S. The U.S. outspends Iran and North Korea by a ratio of 72 to one.
STOCKHOLM—In recognition of her groundbreaking work treating life- threatening diseases of the privates, renowned hoo-ha specialist Dr. Victoria Lazoff was awarded the Nobel Prize in Lady Medicine this week.
The world’s foremost authority on ailments down south, Lazoff led a team of cutting-edge hoo-ha doctors to develop new strategies for detecting abnormal growth in…you know, that area. The accomplished physician humbly accepted medicine’s highest honor before a crowd of her peers, and spoke about the importance of regular screenings to prevent unnecessary complications up inside one’s business.
“Recent advancements have brought us closer than ever to eliminating this threat, but early detection is still our best defense,” said Dr. Lazoff, who earned a doctorate in lady parts from Johns Hopkins University. “I thank you all for this great honor, which I hope will finally bring the world’s attention to the serious matter of [hoo-ha] disease.”
Attendees said Lazoff then presented a number of slides pertaining to the, uh, nether-type zone.
This marks the first time in more than 20 years that a Nobel Prize has been given to a physician who specializes in all that stuff downstairs. Committee members praised Lazoff for helping to stem the frightening epidemic, which last year killed more women than ta-ta and derriere cancer combined.
In many cases, Lazoff’s methods have been able to prevent the spread of malignant cells from the inside of the um, geez, to the…more inside of…you know, the part that’s sort of, uh….God, is it getting hot in here?
During the remarkably noninvasive procedure, targeted blasts of radiation are delivered to the, err, naughty region through a special, well, wand-like device that is—ahem—inserted near the, ho boy, “affected area.”
You get the picture.
The treatment was also found to eliminate fibrous growths without causing nerve damage to the surrounding bits, the inside stuff, and that other thing that looks kind of like a rubber hoop. For these reasons, Lazoff’s work has been heralded by many in her field as “invaluable” to modern medicine.
“Dr. Lazoff is a brilliant and dedicated physician who has saved countless lives with her research, and I can think of no one more deserving of this award,” said noted pediatric oncologist Dr. Harold Brimson. “How many do you think she sees in a day? Must be a ton.”
Accompanying the Nobel Prize is a $1.4 million grant that, according to medical experts, can buy Lazoff a lot of those metal spreader thingies. But the talented physician told reporters she is not interested in monetary reward, and only hopes to educate at-risk women about their own vag—genit—about their health.
“We should be encouraging an open dialogue with our young women, one that isn’t constrained by some outdated facade of 1950s morality,” Lazoff said to a crowd of people looking down at their shoes. “I cannot say this clearly enough: Ladies, please, make an appointment to get your annual [looksie-doo], especially if you are [seeing a fella] or have experienced pain or sensitivity in your ['Hello, my baby! Hello, my darling! Hello, my ragtime gal!'].”
Added Lazoff, “It is time for this country to begin having a frank discussion about the [sound of loud, extended train whistle].”
Let’s give a great big Labia tip to The Onion
Oh, and there are graphics.
I know all you rednecks listen to Rush and Hannity and believe that the bogey man, “Socialized Medicine” is something to avoid at all costs. That none of you would take that terrible system that those stupid Canadians live with.
But, have you ever asked a Canadian about his healthcare and whether or not they would trade with you? Maybe you Rushidiots should try that, just once, instead of getting your ideas from that Hillbilly Heroin-addled asswipe.
I happened upon Susie Madrak’s blog via Glenn Greenwald’s blog, where she is having a donation drive for her health insurance/health care and to get an MRI (she lost her job and blogs full time now, as I understand it). Her story is horrible, just like so many millions of Americans… just like my own personal experience and circumstance.
After I added my 2 cents worth (telling her I care but I can’t afford to contribute, since I can’t even afford my own) I saw several comments from Canadians, and not to steal anything, I thought their input might be educational for the Rush Heads and Hannity Ass Lickers.
Living up here in Toronto, I have to say that reading this sent shivers down my spine. It is like some horrible nightmare. I can’t imagine what it must be like to live knowing that any serious illness or accident could bankrupt your family.
I tore my ACL playing basketball 10 years ago and my doctor sent me for an MRI and then set up an appointment with a surgeon. I had the surgery and spent 6 months working with a physiotherapist in a rehab clinic, and the whole time, I never saw a bill. When my son was 6 months old, he developed a hernia and had to have surgery. No bill. When he was 6 he slipped on ice at school and broke his collarbone, and I took him to the emergency room where they took care of him. Again, no bill.
In Canada we complain a lot about our health care system, and there are a number of valid things to complain about. Yes, there is bureaucracy and waste. Yes, sometimes you have to wait for non-critical surgery (I had to wait 18 months, but partly because I chose the best ACL surgeon in the city). But overall, all of these complaints pale in comparison to what goes on in the U.S.
Fundamentally, I think the issue is this: Having the government running health care comes with a host of legitimate issues, but the alternative is far worse, because as soon as you have private corporations running health care, you have profit as a higher priority than helping people get better. As soon as you put profit into the equation, it necessarily comes at the expense of patient care, since the two are mutually exclusive.
Say what you will about the government, but one thing you can be certain of is that they are not looking to profit from the health care that they provide you. Thus doctors can order whatever test they deem necessary, and they can refer you to whatever specialist is required, who can then perform whatever procedure you might need, all without anyone every having to even remotely consider how much all of this will cost or who is going to pay it.
And yes, this does come with a price, namely higher taxes, but I promise you it is worth every penny. Right-wingers love to point at the Canadian health-care system as something to be feared, and I personally find this hilarious. It’s very funny when you see Limbaugh or Hannity go on a rant about the evils of socialized medicine, and you realize that if they ever bothered to actually talk to some Canadians, they would realize that at least 90% of us would never in a million years trade what we have for what you have.
I find it very telling that the right to bear arms is enshrined in the constitution, but not the right to adequate health care. Of course many right-wingers would say this is as it should be.
Then from Utopian811:
I am a Canadian, who lives here in the US. I have to say, I find things so strange when it comes to medical: You have for profit companies who make money off sick people. It is not in their interest to help people to recover (they make nothing if everyone is healthy).
When I talk to people about the Canadian health care system, they tell me the standard lines: huge lines at hospitals, not being able to have a regular doctor, waiting for years for surgery for a heart attack when you need it now… all myths. I had the same Dr for 22 years (until I moved here, where I had 4 before my wife lost her job and health care, we now have none), I usually got to see him within 24 to 48 hours, my medications were usually 1/2 to 1/4 the cost of the same medications here, and when I did have an emergency come up (my ex’s miscarriage), we were in emergency in a few minutes, being looked at in about 15 minutes by a Dr, and she was admitted within 2 hours.
I got shingles a few years ago, the Dr misdiagnosed it, and I now have a condition called Post Herpetic Neuralgia. It’s painful, and I require pain killers, as well as other medications to deal with it. I can’t get health insurance here (pre-existing conditions) so my monthly out of pocket is about $450, plus the $120 to see the pain Dr. every 3 months, to see my GP costs $80 per visit, and forget testing and other medical support, the costs to me are way too high.
My family suggests I move back to Canada, but I live here now… it’s my home, for good or bad. I would prefer that people take a good look at universal healthcare. It worked for me for 37 years, no problems. The cost was reasonable, if anything, and I never worried about what would happen if something did happen to me.
Now, I think about last year, when my appendix burst, and the week in the hospital cost my health insurance $100,000. The same thing would have been way less in every other country in the world. Today, due to the economy, with no health care, I would be in debt for the rest of my life… just because someone who needs the system to stay the way it is (the (un)health companies) has convinced the people of the US that it isn’t in their best interests to have universal health care, which is a big lie!
So, rednecks. Ask a Canadian to trade with you and see what happens. I have tried it and get laughed at. But those country bumpkins will tell me how bad Canadian healthcare is when they have never even left the state of Tennessee.
As a matter of fact, it is really only Americans who are saying such shit. It just proves what an ignorant bunch of gullible fools we are.
There are horror stories from all over the world and some of the ones I have experienced in my family in the last 5 years would cause one to rethink such idiotic defense of an obviously failed system such as ours.
Isaiah's latest The World Today Just Nuts "Swinging Prez." Barack, in Hef robe, declares, "Yeah, I proved Friday I'm the third term of George W. Bush. So what? In the campaign, I started off claiming troops out by March 2008 -- 11 months, then I moved it to 16. Now I'm saying maybe three years. Promise 'em anything and then do what you want." An excited Little Dicky squeals, "Barry! I love you!"
h/t The Common Ills
Early on the Savior gave me hope. Back when he was campaigning lying to get your vote and all that online money:
“In an exclusive interview with The Post, members of the vaunted Triple O, Obama’s online operation, broke down the numbers: 3 million donors made a total of 6.5 million donations online adding up to more than $500 million. Of those 6.5 million donations, 6 million were in increments of $100 or less. The average online donation was $80, and the average Obama donor gave more than once.” (Washington Post)
So isn’t it amazing to you “online” folks how he has so little concern for your issues when it was your votes and online “get -out – the- vote” agenda (as blind as you were)? I mean, aren’t you pissed yet? Iraq war? Afghanistan growing. Pakistan coming (and maybe Iran and Russia)? As kelso put it, what has he NOT lied about?
Chycho has a great post up comparing then to now (and the fact that it was his “online audience” he dissed that gave him 1/2 a Billion Dollars). I wanted to share what he said in 2004 about marijuana and the drug laws.
“The war on drugs has been an utter failure, and I think we need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws.”
How sane and introspective (TO HIS COLLEGE AUDIENCE). He knows his audience as well as Clinton did. But he then giggles and changes his tune when he is elected. Thank goodness we have some sane folks like Senator Jim Webb who are speaking out openly and without regard to the coffers and powers that be who desire the status quo. From Glenn Greenwald:
Let’s start with a premise that I don’t think a lot of Americans are aware of. We have 5% of the world’s population; we have 25% of the world’s known prison population. We have an incarceration rate in the United States, the world’s greatest democracy, that is five times as high as the average incarceration rate of the rest of the world. There are only two possibilities here: either we have the most evil people on earth living in the United States; or we are doing something dramatically wrong in terms of how we approach the issue of criminal justice. . . .
The elephant in the bedroom in many discussions on the criminal justice system is the sharp increase in drug incarceration over the past three decades. In 1980, we had 41,000 drug offenders in prison; today we have more than 500,000, an increase of 1,200%. The blue disks represent the numbers in 1980; the red disks represent the numbers in 2007 and a significant percentage of those incarcerated are for possession or nonviolent offenses stemming from drug addiction and those sorts of related behavioral issues. . . .
In many cases these issues involve people’s ability to have proper counsel and other issues, but there are stunning statistics with respect to drugs that we all must come to terms with. African-Americans are about 12% of our population; contrary to a lot of thought and rhetoric, their drug use rate in terms of frequent drug use rate is about the same as all other elements of our society, about 14%. But they end up being 37% of those arrested on drug charges, 59% of those convicted, and 74% of those sentenced to prison by the numbers that have been provided by us. . . .
Another piece of this issue that I hope we will address with this National Criminal Justice Commission is what happens inside our prisons. . . . We also have a situation in this country with respect to prison violence and sexual victimization that is off the charts and we must get our arms around this problem. We also have many people in our prisons who are among what are called the criminally ill, many suffering from hepatitis and HIV who are not getting the sorts of treatment they deserve.
Importantly, what are we going to do about drug policy – the whole area of drug policy in this country?
And how does that affect sentencing procedures and other alternatives that we might look at?
And he did that entire thing without giggling once. Think of that. A sane, open and honest discussion about the facts… from a freaking US Senator, at that. It would seem that the Senator with even less senatorial experience that Obama may teach the POTUS a thing or two about honesty and real issues. This is from the prison perspective, which is still economic in nature because it is draining our resources and enriching people for bogus rationale.
Glenn explains this:
Webb added that ”America’s criminal justice system has deteriorated to the point that it is a national disgrace” and “we are locking up too many people who do not belong in jail.”
It’s hard to overstate how politically thankless, and risky, is Webb’s pursuit of this issue — both in general and particularly for Webb. Though there has been some evolution of public opinion on some drug policy issues, there is virtually no meaningful organized constituency for prison reform. To the contrary, leaving oneself vulnerable to accusations of being “soft on crime” has, for decades, been one of the most toxic vulnerabilities a politician can suffer (ask Michael Dukakis). Moreover, the privatized Prison State is a booming and highly profitable industry, with an army of lobbyists, donations, and other well-funded weapons for targeting candidates who threaten its interests.
This is not some silly issue. It IS real and deserves a very close look for its economical, moral, and ethical rationale. It deserves a debate. A conversation without the snickering setup of belittlement.
I am worth more than these 6 colors, 4 initials, gay flags, and pride parades.
I am defined by more than my baggy pants, wife beater shirts and low cut fades.
But, lately, I find myself slipping into melancholy hissy fits, debating Religion and Sexuality with bible-thumping nit-wits.
They refer to the creator, who painted oceans red with blood and molded earth before giving us breath through love.
Him, who fought battles with darkness and light, only to lose the fight, win, and lose again.
Ultimately flooding the earth over because he might have messed up… in the beginning.
All the while my spirituality attempts to veer within reason, make understanding of me succumbing to my lesbian feelings.
Instead, I choose to further explore, no more fighting off those fears, I wanted a bite of that Apple, for it is that which I held dear.
They say it’s the Devil trying to entice me to him, I say where in the bible it says the Devil preferred men?
I remember way back when, asking my pastor some questions, but I told him, take your blinders off first, before answerin’ em. Then I asked how come religion is separated into Churches, Mosque’s, and Synagogues and people are taught differently using the Bible, the Koran and the Torah?
Why do different denominations nit pick at tid bits as if that 1 verse found in Leviticus makes all of the fuckin’ difference?
All the while every Sunday they’re asking for forgiveness, must be nice to fill them pews every weekend with repentive sinners and hung-over hypocrites.
And now everything is commercialized, pastors making millions as televangelists.
This ain’t what Jesus had in mind……………………….. further justifying my lack of respect of it.
Because inside all those religious walls you’ll find a similar mindset,
You can change the atmosphere, but it’s the same damn environment.
In God’s will I trusted and served and throughout my teenage years I never sexually interacted.
I learned the best knowledge one can discover can’t be learned in Church or map-quested.
But I never choose ungodly fashions, instead standing at His attention because in His name I manifested.
When it came to sexuality and women, every where I turned It seemed like I was tempted.
I chalked it up to my inner demons and lack of Christian-like intentions for wanting to fulfill carnal desires, masked as Jezebel like wickedness.
On Sunday’s proverbs and psalms were recited, inciting many epiphanies,
foretelling the separation of me from my church and various states of mental tease.
In one ear she’s whispering .. sweet nothings to me, “don’t worry about religion, just give me what my body needs.”
And damn those times when my flesh caught urges and my blood was hot inside of me.
And when release wasn’t found in another, I sought her, and she was far more womanly.
You see I watched her and it felt good watchin’, like that time I left my web cam on when we…. Oh shit…. wrong memory.
Now I’m not discounting the fact that I was baptized at 9, I’m a born again lesbian in that respect.
Nails against backs, nostrils flared, like heathens we’d pant as she baptized me in her sweat.
And in my thoughts, as I reflect, I secretly chanted and did a church dance.
I idolized the silhouette of her lying across my chest, unrushed, though from that point on they said the devil was inside of us.
I stood my ground despite my family’s fuss, exposed my soul and prepared for when tears and blood became synonymous.
I remember growing up, feeling the confusion of living under such stringent principles,
rgid concepts creating fear in the minds of those who neither protest nor question Religion in general.
Many a time I stumbled yet my pride refused to fall, so while I was suspended in midair I used that second to grasp my thoughts.
Finally realizing that the religion God speaks of is unconditional love.
(submitted with permission)
Daniel Hannan: Quite impressive, indeed!
Tirade: Gordon Brown addressing the European Parliament on Tuesday. He then had to sit through an attack on his record by MEP Daniel Hannan
After accusing Mr Brown of losing his moral authority, he finished with the pay-off line: ‘You are the devalued Prime Minister of a devalued government.’
Its hilarious, huh? Can’t help but snicker and giggle, trying to minimize what you know is an extremely important issue. One that you people are lying through your grinning teeth about. We know the truth, Giggles.
White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs is asked to clarify President Obama’s position on legalizing marijuana and on medical marijuana after he brought up the topic in the first Online Town Hall. Questions involving marijuana reform appeared in several categories and received far more votes than any other policy issue.
Ask yourself why there is such a push for the tax payers to bail these people out when it is obviously against the will and desires of the majority of Americans. Why the banking industry is getting so much preferential treatment and the issues concerning Americans the most are laughed at or ignored totally (the Military Industrial Complex’s horrifying drain on our economy)?
Follow the money…
FERGUSON: It’s fair to say they are obsessed with the private financial sector. Now, there are various views about this. I’ve got a very definite one. I actually do campaign finance. I mean, what I actually do is political moneying. And so, I mean, I’m in the process of finishing my—. Every four years my slogan is: I’ll tell you who bought your candidate before you vote for him or her. And it takes a lot. I mean, I did a study of the early money, and it was perfectly obvious that Obama was the candidate of finance, and to an almost exclusive degree in the sense that that was the sector that had a—he was far more concentrated there than, say, Hillary Clinton was. She had plenty of support in finance too.
JAY: Finance meaning Wall Street.
FERGUSON: Wall Street, in a sentence. Banks, investment houses, private equity; insurance I would count in that too. I take it there will be no argument on this after AIG. Anyway, and I’m just finishing for the whole 2008, and it’s just obvious, you know, you get what you pay for, and they pay. And so I’m sorry to say the people who caused the problem are to a very large degree the folks who—sort of primary backers of Obama. So I’m not surprised that, to use Paul Krugman’s term, they’re almost obsessed with this sort of private-sector solution in finance. It’s not an obsession.
Hardy fucking har har.
You don’t fool me, POTUS. I KNOW you know better and this is what causes my rage about the issue.
But first, rednecks, listen as your Savior laughs off one of the most popular questions asked of him and his administration. This question has been plastered all over the place and to shrug it off is unacceptable and a sure sign of you covering for your coffers.
Yeah, those damned internet people are so funny, right?
But just how funny am I? This funny?
Maybe its me… I’m a little fucked up. But, I’m funny How? Funny like a clown… I amuse you? I make you laugh? I’m here to fuckin’ amuse you?
What do you mean, “funny”? Funny, how?
How the fuck am I funny? What’s so funny about me?
POTUS, we know better. You may play funny footsie with those sycophants that surround you in your pressers, but real America knows better. There is not a damned thing “funny” about those who are truly thinking about the welfare of this country, when I am highly suspicious of your desires for this country.
It is time you act like a President instead of a Corporately owned asshole. But, I bet that you are too far gone and too deep in their pockets to change.
Funny? Of course there is money to be made and YES, you lying nincompoop, it WOULD help our economy. Tax it, stop the humungous amount of money feeding the Prison Industrial Complex and Damn what a winfall for this country (and we haven’t even begun to discuss Hemp). You would essentially stop the illegal activities and make huge sums of money. Funny? Not hardly.
I KNOW you are aware of this. So, your policy is due to some other, more dubious rationale. Its called MONEY, HONEY. But the money, in that case, is your campaign finances and the propping up of the bogus “war on drugs” and to contrinue the imprisonment of innocent Americans for having a plant, for god’s sake.
Yes, POTUS, we know. We know what your motivation is. we know why it is more convenient for you to “laugh off” a viable and needed revenue source that will also stop the infringement into people’s lives over a plant.
I am sickened by you and your bullshit policies. I am sickened by your attempts to minimize one of the most important questions asked of you, over and over again.
Sickening is more like it.
This is NOT about potheads and giggles, POTUS. This is serious business and it is “high” time you got serious with us.
Dave Lindorff has a nice little explanation of how the parasitical insurance industry accomplishes its goal of fleecing Americans from their money and health. There is no doubt about this and I cannot find anyone EXCEPT Insurance Industry workers who would disagree or even remotely try to argue the point.
Dave writes below:
By Dave Lindorff
As the country contemplates a major reform and restructuring of the way we run our national health care system (if it can even be called that), it needs to be pointed out that the mammoth health insurance industry is nothing but a parasite on that system.
Health insurance companies add zero value to the delivery of health care. Indeed, they are a significant cost factor that sucks up, according to some estimates such as one by the organization Physicians for a National Health Program, as much as 31 percent of every dollar spent on medical services (a percentage that has been rising steadily year after year).
Insurance companies are damaging in more ways than simply cost, though.
They also actively interfere in the delivery of quality medical care, as anyone who has had to battle with some “nurse” on the phone at an insurance company to get required pre-authorization for needed procedure can attest. Just recently, the editor of a local weekly alternative paper in Philadelphia, Brian Hinkey, the victim of a near fatal hit-and-run accident last year who spent several days in a coma, and has been working hard to regain the use of all his limbs and faculties, reported in an opinion piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer on how his insurer after a few successful weeks of in-hospital rehab, denied him coverage for six critical weeks for out-patient rehab services, though every specialist on head injuries knows that early, consistent therapy is crucial to recovery of lost brain function.
This kind of human abuse is standard operating procedure for companies whose bottom lines are fattened the more services they can deny to insured clients. My own father, once doomed by a metastasized cancer following prostate surgery, was saved by a procedure offered by a physician in Atlanta that his Blue Cross plan in Connecticut refused to pay for. He had to finance the expensive treatment himself.
B’Man: My bitch is with Blue Cross Blue Shield, specifically, but they all work the same to screw over the public. I have experienced the very same things and worse in my family. I have had continual coverage with BCBS since 1996 (and maybe before). Since we started, it has constantly gone up in price, decreased in service and coverage and basically has penalized us for being an excellent customer. I am not surprised because these people are set up to make a profit. The problem is that when it comes to an American’s health, profit should not be the most significant goal (I would argue that it should be NO goal whatsoever). “Capitalism”, even the bullshit example our country claims to have is simply BAD for a human’s health. Period.
Now these medical system parasites are suddenly running scared, because it is clear that if everyone in America is to be guaranteed health insurance coverage—a promised goal of the new administration of President Barack Obama, and, according to polls, the desire of a large majority of the American people—they are going to stand exposed as a costly impediment to achieving that goal.
Insurance companies have managed to stay profitable and at least somewhat affordable to the private employers and workers who, together, have to pay for them, by denying care not just to policy holders, who are denied certain tests and treatments but especially to those who have known ailments, who are simply denied coverage altogether.
For decades, people with “pre-existing conditions” have been either barred from coverage, or have had to sign waivers that excluded them from getting coverage for treatment of those pre-existing conditions. In the worst case, which is all too common, people have ended up dying because they couldn’t get treatment for common and easily treated ailments like high blood pressure or diabetes.
B’Man: I have high BP (moderately) that is easily treatable with meds. However, the ignorant assed doctors seem to only listen to the drug salesman and will prescribe the “newest” drugs that cost a freaking fortune. Ask about the drug your granfather took (and worked very well) and you are met with stares of incredulity. I am supposed to prescribe the latest and greatest (most expensive, non-proven meds) that my trusty drug salesman told me about. Besides, he gave me these samples for you to try…
Then next month the bill says had you not had insurance, your month’s supply would equal about $250/month.
Now we hear that two big insurance trade groups, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and America’s Health Insurance Plans, have offered to “phase out the practice of varying premiums based on health status in the individual market” in the event that all Americans are required to obtain health insurance.
Well sure they’re doing that. If they didn’t, the government would force them to! The insurance industry, in saying that it would not price sick people out of coverage in a nationally-mandated health insurance scheme, is merely recognizing the political firestorm that would arise if it were not to do that, and were to force the sick and inform onto some government insurance plan, subsidized by taxpayers, while they just cherry-picked the healthy population, as they’ve been doing now for decades.
The whole point is that if everyone is included in the insurance pool, instead of only the healthy population, then the overall cost of being chronically or critically ill to the individual is spread over the whole of society. Premiums get adjusted accordingly.
Medicare is the model. Here we already have a government plan that covers every single elderly and disabled person.
If we were to simply extend Medicare to cover everyone in America, we would essentially have the Canadian model of health care (which, it should be pointed out, costs half what we pay in America for health care when private insurance and government programs are added together). As with current Medicare, the government would pay for treatment, with private doctors and hospitals providing the care, and with the government negotiating the permissible charges. That, in a nutshell, is what “single-payer” means—the government is the single payer for all health care. It doesn’t mean, as the right-wing critics claim in their scaremongering propaganda, that people would be forced to use certain doctors and certain hospitals. Far from it. That’s what private HMOs do.
B’Man: Again, this is my experience. BCBS tells me who I can see. But would you believe that many doctors are refusing to even accept BCBS of MS. We have some who simply say that it simply isn’t worth the hassle to take on those patients. BCBS has caused me and my family to drive over 7,000 miles last year for treatment, firstly because the local medical abilities just plain suck and if you plan on living, you better go elsewhere, and secondly because they limit many doctors in TN (I cannot switch from BCBS of MS to BCBS of TN… they act as if they are not connected and I would be treated for pre-existing conditions, etc. Basically, a move of 30 miles across the state line has caused them to treat me as a foreigner after all these years of continued service.
Medicare is efficient (only 3.6% of Medicare’s budget goes to administrative costs, compared to 31% for health care delivered through private insurance plans), its clients like it, and doctors and hospitals accept it.
We should not be tricked by this seeming sudden appearance of decency on the part of these corporate parasites. There is simply no valid reason for preserving the private insurance industry’s role in any health care reform plan that is aimed at giving everyone access to health care in America. The Obama administration needs to jettison its “free market” fetish when it comes to health care. The financing of health care for all Americans can all be handled much better by the government. Medicare has proven this. Other countries—Britain, Australia, France, Canada, Taiwan and most other modern nations have proven this.
Leave the insurance industry to handle our car insurance and our life insurance. It has no more place in the delivery of health care than do tapeworms in the digestive process of our bowels.
DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based journalist. He is author of “Marketplace Medicine: The Rise of the For-Profit Hospital Chains” (Bantam Books, 1992) and most recently of “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006). His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net
Dave nails it as usual. To prove a point about “why” this is, again, “Follow the Money, Honey”!
Blue Cross/Blue Shield
Through its 45 local chapters, the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Association provides health care coverage to more than 80 million people. Blue Cross/Blue Shield also has a contract with the federal government to review and process Medicare claims. The association is lobbying Congress to make it harder for the government to penalize companies if their employees defraud the Medicare program and process false claims. Local Blue Cross chapters have paid about $340 million to the federal government to settle Medicare fraud charges since 1993.
Money given to campaign finance from BCBS
Members of a Senate Committee that today held the first part of a hearing to examine whether health insurance companies are failing to fully pay reimbursements to policyholders haven’t had any trouble themselves collecting money from these companies. In total, health insurance companies’ PACs and employees have given 25 members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation $3.3 million in campaign contributions since the 1990 election cycle, with 53 percent of that going to Democrats*.
At the top of that list is committee member Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who has collected $680,200 over time for his candidate committee and leadership PAC from the companies. But the industry under scrutiny has also helped pay for the campaigns of committee chair Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), who has collected $141,000, while ranking member Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) has brought in $119,700. Blue Cross/Blue Shield has the strongest financial tie to senators currently on the committee, giving $505,700 total, followed by AFLAC, which has donated $337,250 since 1989. Although none of the individuals testifying today were from a health insurance company (instead they were from various health care and consumer task forces and associations), UnitedHealth Group president Stephen Hemsley is scheduled to testify at the second half of the hearing on Tuesday. His company’s employees and PAC have given members of the committee $206,300, and Hemsley himself contributed to Rockefeller in the 2008 election cycle.
B’Man: No, Mr Redneck. Don’t follow the money. Don’t even look at the man behind the curtain. Just go along with it all until you are dead and bloated. And every one of these bastards who took money is being covered by the best healthcare that YOUR tax dollar can provide.
You should be outraged, but your gullibility and ass kissing of Barack Obama will not allow you to think, much less get angry.
For so very long I was the harmless little bunny that kept to myself, worked hard to provide for my family and country (taxes), participate in civic duty, helped others whenever I possibly could… basically quietly living the American Dream thing.
And look what it got me. They took advantage and screwed me.
The snake has finally pissed me off and I’m fighting mad.
When you come here and read my rants, you are basically seeing me turn the tables just like my little friend below does. It just so happens that rabbits are vicious when it comes to protecting their brood. This old swamp rabbit is even worse.
When he said, “We are all in this together”, my first thought was “You are so full of shit”.
Let’s get this shit straight, right now. I had NOTHING to do with this ripoff.
I played your goddamn game, POTUS. I have done my part and there is not a single nickel bailing me out. Why is it my problem now?
As a matter of fact, you and your “appointment” Timothy Geithner is only bringing our country to a quicker end. I have come to the conclusion that you have purposefully brought the dollar down to almost nothing and when China pulls the plug (as Kelso puts it here), then our world, as we know it, changes and the rest of the world will follow. I believe this is a purposeful event and no coincidences or bad luck or failed policies.
I can not logically come to any other conclusion except that The Elite want this crash. Sound silly or conspiracy nuttish?
Think about it. The ultra rich have been able to rape our treasury. They have convinced the leadership (if not complicit) that this is necessary because “they are too big to fail”. Many Americans are so far in debt and without a clue regarding these issues that we simply “trust” those that should know better to do the right thing.
With such a complacent Sheople, they can do anything they so desire.
I started to run thru Mr Obama’s opening statement and answers, but it is fruitless. Even if he did mean well (and I do not think this is so), he is making a huge mistake and nothing but failure can come. You cannot hoodwink too many investors in buying the shit assets, but with the current plan it really doesn’t matter. They will be offered at a fraction of the original sales price and if they cannot be moved by the buyers, they will be subsidized by your taxes. It is a win-win for them and a lose-lose for American citizens.
We can no longer prop up this failed system. They have already emptied the banks by losing it all. Now, we are simply dealing with paper and the rest of the world knows it. We are flat broke as a nation, and now as a citizenry because they just bailed out the rich fuckers who created the problem and put it on your back.
These people (NONE OF THEM) care about you, redneck.
You MUST understand that.
Proof in point?
Also, I read this at AfterDowningStreet and thought it fit pretty nicely:
By Cindy Sheehan
No we are not, that’s the point.
Tonight, President Obama basically said that we can’t demonize every investor who earns a profit, because “we are all in this together.” Sorry, but I am going to have to call a big fat “bull-shit” on this one.
When Obama said “we” did he have a mouse in his pocket? Obama, and his family have a very opulent, slave-built roof over their heads. He travels on the public nickel, his children attend an exclusive Washington, DC private school that has organic food on its menu, and has health care that covers everyone in his family from head to toe and side to side and inside out.
Even though he and every member of the administration, Congress and the Supreme Court are not hurting for anything, the bastard (sorry if your parents weren’t married when you were conceived) Wall Street banksters are receiving billions of dollars of government welfare and are not so good about being in “this together” with us.
The only concrete steps the Treasury and Fed have taken are to buy “toxic” assets (if something is toxic can it still be an asset?) so companies like Goldman Sachs (via AIG) can have the public tit rescue them from their stupider than crap mistakes.
WE the ROBBED Class are in this together. THEY the ROBBER Class are in it for themselves. How many times does Obama have to demonstrate that his economic recovery is nothing but Reaganomics wrapped in a little bit of populist rhetoric to make it easier for the mis-informed Robbed Class to swallow. If anything transpires to alleviate the suffering in our Class at all, it will be because some of the prosperity got through the cracks in the deeply cancerous system and trickled ON us. Rest assured, this is just a mistake and the only time the Robber Class cares about us, is when the interests of the two classes collide.
I will feel like I am “in this” with the Obamas when I have a free house, free health care and if my children would not have to go into lifelong debt to pay for university.
I wonder if the wall to wall homeless population (it’s growing at an alarming rate) here in San Francisco feels “in this together” with the Wall Street Robbers?
I wonder if the people standing waiting for hours in municipal Emergency Rooms waiting to get some, any medical attention feel “in this together” with Congress which has 110% medical coverage?
I wonder if the foot soldiers for the Empire feel “in this together” with the War Profiteer Robbers?
I wonder if the victims of the drug wars and street wars feel “in this together” with the children of the Robbers who ride to their schools in limos with bodyguards?
I wonder if our brothers and sisters living in tent cities with their children feel “in this together” with the Pelosis and Feinsteins of the world who live in their obscenely huge mansions in exclusive neighborhoods and fly back and forth from DC in private jets that suck down gas at an immoral rate?
I wonder if our brothers and sisters who just cashed a final unemployment check feels “in this together” with the Robbers who just cashed millions in bonuses?
I, myself, feel “in this together” with the homeless, hungry, sick, jobless, struggling, stressed, frightened, confused, yet resilient, brave and strong.
WE are in this together. WE need to step outside of the Robber Class system and start to build our own systems to help each other through this Robber Class/Goldman Sachs/Federal Reserve depression.
Please order your copy of my new book, Myth America: The 10 Greatest Myths of the Robber Class and the Case for Revolution, (available soon) today! (We are having temporary problems with pay-pay) Send 10.00 to: Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox, 55 Chumasero Dr STE 5D, San Francisco, Ca 94132
It HAD to be said and Jonathon did. In so many words, he said that there is no doubt that war criminals have been in charge and Obama is covering it up for some reason. This ain’t just the crazy old redneck talking here. He knows what he is talking about.
I may have a slightly different view as to “why” President Obama is hemhawing over the issue. Unless Mr Turley means that it will be unpopular among Congress. Because, from what I am seeing, people in this country want these thugs held accountable. I believe investigating, prosecuting and punishing these dirty bastards is the first step to our recovery.
But “what if” Mr Obama is not intent on pushing the envelope because there is more to the issue than meets the eye. I can’t help but believe that there is complicity at very high levels (and from both parties). I can’t help believe but that some of this is still happening and if not, those who were instrumental are still active in Obama’s administration or advisement. There could be such an embarrassing connection that it sinks him.
I can tell you that from my perspective, the sooner we see those stinking, thieving, murderous bastards behind bars (or hung), the better. They have tainted us to a point beyond recovery in the world’s eyes.
We can make claims, as Americans, that we are moral and good and a “Christian Nation”, but when we do not stand up against this type of horrendous evil, we are full of shit when we say it.
Number Of Uninsured Workers Rises.
The AP (3/24, Alonso-Zaldivar) reports American workers “are getting squeezed like no other group by the nation’s health insurance woes,” as “workers now are at significantly higher risk of being uninsured than in the 1990s,” according to a study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The study found that “nearly 1 in 5 workers is uninsured,” which is “a statistically significant increase from fewer than 1 in 7 during the mid-1990s.” The main factor causing this rise is that “total premiums for employer plans have risen six to eight times faster than wages.” There is growing resentment for some as “workers continue to pay the bill for covering others” through their payroll taxes that “help support Medicare, which covers the elderly,” and “pay for covering the poor and the children of low-income working parents.”
No shit, huh? Resentment? Is that what you call this that I am experiencing? But let’s examine the “why’s” they tout of my resentment. I am resentful because my money goes to subsidize poor folks and the elderly, supposedly?
No, you stupid assholes. THAT is NOT why I am pissed. I am pissed (“resentful” doesn’t even come close) because my congresspeople get their campaign finances from the very ones that are stopping a socialized, single-payer universal healthcare system. I am pissed because our elected officials are more worried about this and next year’s contributions more so than the actual health and well being of their constituents. I am pissed because the worthless money pits we call health insurance companies are controlling the care we get, where we get it and how much that can be charged, all-the-while excluding anyone that isn’t modestly wealthy. They basically stop small businesses from being able to help their employees because it is the HEALTH INSURANCE INDUSTRY that is draining the swamp and leaving us all to dry out and die.
THAT, by God, is why I am pissed.
I would give the shirt off my back and help anyone that I possible could, if they were sick. Especially the elderly and the poor.
Problem is that we are all being forced into the poor house, while the fat cats at Blue Cross Blue Shield make more fucking money in one year than I will make in my lifetime. AND, their health insurance is provided.
Lets be clear about “why” America should be pissed. It is our leadership and the Corptocracy that owns them.