Los Angeles, Guatemala

This is what your beloved Health Insurance Companies would love to have in place for those they refuse to cover or cannot afford coverage.

Am I the only real life redneck who thinks that this shit is absurd?

Stan Brock says it all when he says, “This could be Guatemala. There is no difference.”

h/t Organizing Notes:

These “health care fairs” are popping up all over the country as currently almost 50 million Americans have no real health care. Is this the kind of reform the health insurance corporations suggest we have?

Last night at the cultural rally in Seoul one of the songs had a chorus line that went: “Say good-bye to the world you thought you lived in”……a fitting way to describe America’s race to the bottom of the barrel.

Isn’t it past time that we began to demand more and to fight for it?

We have become a colonized people in the US by the corporate powers but we still seem to suffer from the illusion that we are a democracy and that the people are in charge. The sooner we wake up from this misbegotten dream the better for us all.

And then California does THIS (h/t WorldProutAssembly):

A state board voted Thursday to begin terminating health insurance for more than 60,000 children Oct. 1 as a result of the budget amendments signed into law recently by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Those children would be up for an annual review of their coverage next month, but instead they may be dropped from the California Healthy Families program under the action by the state Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board. The board is scrambling to secure funding from other sources, including money set aside by voters for early childhood education, but so far it has come up short. If additional funds are not found, board officials said, the program could ultimately drop 669,296 children in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2010. Currently, 921,000 people age 18 and younger are enrolled in Healthy Families.

By Patrick McGreevy and Evan Halper

Yes, cut healthcare for the neediest. I know I ain’t no California Dude, but this sure seems fucked up to me.

Heather, at C&L, has a clip of  Real Time’s Real Reporter, Dana Gould, as he examines the difference between visiting the right-wing nutcases and the RAM gathering in California. Can you imagine the upside down rationale for the people WITH healthcare being all pissed off about Single payer (or any kind of change), when the people hurting the most are the most cordial and helpful?

But the Brutal Truth About America’s Healthcare is described by the founder of RAM, Stan Brock in this interview and article first published at The Independent/UK and also featured at CommonDreams. You keep hearing the Rush maniacs scream at TownHall events, but they are mum about this issue. Here is a snippet:

President Obama’s healthcare plans had been a central plank of his first-term program, but his reform package has taken a battering at the hands of Republican opponents in recent weeks. As the Democrats have failed to coalesce around a single, straightforward proposal, their rivals have seized on public hesitancy over “socialized medicine” and now the chance of far-reaching reform is in doubt.

Most damaging of all has been the tide of vociferous right-wing opponents whipping up skepticism at town hall meetings that were supposed to soothe doubts. In Pennsylvania this week, Senator Arlen Specter was greeted by a crowd of 1,000 at a venue designed to accommodate only 250, and of the 30 selected speakers at the event, almost all were hostile.

The packed bleachers in the LA Forum tell a different story. The mobile clinic has been organized by the remarkable Remote Area Medical. The charity usually focuses on the rural poor, although they worked in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Now they are moving into more urban venues, this week’s event in Los Angeles is believed to be the largest free healthcare operation in the country.

Doctors, dentists and therapists volunteer their time, and resources to the organization. To many US medical professionals, it offers a rare opportunity to plug into the public service ethos on which their trade was supposedly founded. “People come here who haven’t seen a doctor for years. And we’re able to say ‘Hey, you have this, you have this, you have this’,” said Dr Vincent Anthony, a kidney specialist volunteering five days of his team’s time. “It’s hard work, but incredibly rewarding. Healthcare needs reform, obviously. There are so many people falling through the cracks, who don’t get care. That’s why so many are here.”

Ironically, given this week’s transatlantic spat over the NHS, Remote Area Medical was founded by an Englishman: Stan Brock. The 72-year-old former public schoolboy, Taekwondo black belt, and one-time presenter of Wild Kingdom, one of America’s most popular animal TV shows, left the celebrity gravy train in 1985 to, as he puts it, “make people better”.

Today, Brock has no money, no income, and no bank account. He spends 365 days a year at the charity events, sleeping on a small rolled-up mat on the floor and living on a diet made up entirely of porridge and fresh fruit. In some quarters, he has been described, without too much exaggeration, as a living saint.

Though anxious not to interfere in the potent healthcare debate, Mr Brock said yesterday that he, and many other professionals, believes the NHS should provide a benchmark for the future of US healthcare.

“Back in 1944, the UK government knew there was a serious problem with lack of healthcare for 49.7 million British citizens, of which I was one, so they said ‘Hey Mr Nye Bevan, you’re the Minister for Health… go fix it’. And so came the NHS. Well, fast forward now 66 years, and we’ve got about the same number of people, about 49 million people, here in the US, who don’t have access to healthcare.”

“I’ve been very conservative in my outlook for the whole of my life. I’ve been described as being about 90,000 miles to the right of Attila the Hun. But I think one reaches the reality that something doesn’t work… In this country something has to be done. And as a proud member of the US community but a loyal British subject to the core, I would say that if Britain could fix it in 1944, surely we could fix it here in America.

Healthcare compared

Health spending as a share of GDP

US 16%

UK 8.4%

Public spending on healthcare (% of total spending on healthcare)

US 45%

UK 82%

Health spending per head

US $7,290

UK $2,992

Practising physicians (per 1,000 people)

US 2.4

UK 2.5

Nurses (per 1,000 people)

US 10.6

UK 10.0

Acute care hospital beds (per 1,000 people)

US 2.7

UK 2.6

Life expectancy:

US 78

UK 80

Infant mortality (per 1,000 live births)

US 6.7

UK 4.8

Source: WHO/OECD Health Data 2009

7 thoughts on “Los Angeles, Guatemala

  1. Welcome to my world of health care. See, I fell through the cracks long ago. Never had the security of insurance except twice in my life. When I did have it, never used it. Now that Ive gotten older, starting to fall apart and cant afford it. In the past I tried the local health departments, but as much as I hate to say it[its the truth], They only catered to the blacks down here, and now the illegals. A single white dude with no kids is screwed. Hell, they wouldn’t even pull a tooth at one time. I didn’t want it fixed, just yanked and they wouldn’t even do that for me.

    So you see, this is why I haven’t voiced an opinion on this issue. Nothing will change for me either way.


  2. Buelahman –

    Dana Gould and I go back years and years – he used to be a stand-up comic here in the Bay Area, so it is a treat to see him now and again. The thing with his act was that it was always topical and observational, and usually kind; but it was always truthful. This is a good gig for him.

    The sad truth is that we never had a chance. Obama (the Carebear in my world) is too timid. When he had the honeymoon, he should have gotten so much more done, and yes, it always should have been to expand Medicare to everyone.

    The thing that just eats away at me is that Nancy Pelosi — the worst Speaker of the House, perhaps ever — was using issues like healthcare reform to justify keeping impeachment off the table for Chimpy. She would say things like ending the wars in Iraq/Afghanistan and healthcare were so much more important than impeaching Cheney and Bush, that the Dems had to regain power to fix all this stuff. Great job, Nancy.




    • Tengrain,

      Dana is funny and its cool that you know him personally. To rebut, I once sat across from Telly Savalas at a Vegas show and as we were leaving I couldn’t help myself: I said, “Who loves ya, Baby?” It was a short relationship.


      I think you give Obama too much sympathy and credit. I don’t think he ever really cared if there was a public option, or not. He wanted certain perceptions to form in the minds of the Sheople, but when it comes right down to it, he is going to protect and repay his coffers. He is owned, not a pussy. Big difference. Just look at the gift he gave Big Pharma

      All of the leadership is shit, my friend. There are but a small group of true Patriots. Most are sold out and unless forced into a corner, they will protect their money holes. If their constituency benefits, great. If not, who gives a damn. They still get elected because we are so easily duped.

      Pelosi has too many ties that would take her down if she caused too much of a stink. Nonetheless, she is horrible as a Speaker and is apparently protecting the criminals for some reason.

      With the public option gone, maybe we can now fight for Single Payer. People need to get loud and active (I am working with the chair of the TN chapter of PHNP… just got off the phone with him moments ago). This may be the only chance we get to fight the whole shooting match of corrupt assholes who seem to keep us enamored enough to elect them over and over.

      Thanks for stopping in,



      • It’s always a pleasure to come by, and I enjoy seeing you over at my place.

        I agree with your critique of my position, with one slight alteration: I said The Carebear was timid, I did not say he was independent. Hell, yes, he is owned. Thanks for helping me say that more clearly.




  3. “This is Dana Gould here, saying WTF!”

    I love it. Thanks, B’Man, for this clip. (LMAO about your Telly Savalas comment 🙂
    The sad irony is that this nazi/fascist crap being hurled at Obama for wanting to socialize medicine by these wingnut idiots is rigged by the lobbyists to weaken/eliminate any meaningful changes for true reform that would empower citizens and ditch the insurance/medical industrial complex. and Nancy “Who’s Your Daddy” Pelosi? She’s been following the mone$ since her earliest days in Baltimore – right on ideology, horribly wrong on execution.

    Tengrain, Dana is a funny guy. U in SF? I used to act in a theatre company with Mark Roberts before he did stage comedy and Two and a Half Men. Craaaaaazy funny, these comedians! -t.t.


  4. I met both Dana Gould and Seth MacFarlane in Vegas about 6 years ago. Very good guys. Hilarious.

    As for Obama, Pelosi and Reid…well, they aren’t funny guys at all. They are completely owned by every corporatist gangster cartel in Big Sammy. It’s disgusting.

    The whole GLENN BECK “versus” BARACK OBAMA thing is a big fuckin charade for ASS-WHOLE FOOD LIBERALS.

    The new one they’ve devised is worse: BINYAMIN NETANYAHU “versus” RAHM EMANUEL!

    I’m a PAN-SEMITIC ANTI-ZIONIST JEW. This makes me sick. CYNTHIA McKINNEY, MAIREAD McGUIRE, CPT. DENNIS HEALY, URI AVNERY, and AMI AYALON represent MY views on Big Sammy’s disgusting Israel policy and Israel’s disgusting Israel policy. FREE GAZA NOW! STOP THE ETHNIC CLEANSING IN MY FUCKIN NAME! In Panama, Jews and Arabs live together as brothers. It’s fantastic. As fantastic as having Single-Payer health care.

    I’m sorry but Americans are either total dumbasses or totally misguided or both. And there is NO difference between the “parties.” There are about 40 Democrats and 5 Republicans who are not completely owned by their corporatist masters and that’s it.

    Obama is weak. His “fans” are worse.


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