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February 26, 2010

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Radio Russ

When I watched footage of the so-called summit yesterday, I saw two very different factions. On the left, I saw small minded and petulant politicians trying desperately to push flawed legislation that we the people don't want.

On the other side, I saw more reasonable people trying to point out why the people don't want it and why we can't afford it.

None of this inspired confidence that things are going to get better anytime soon.

Angelo

Russ: Good observation. Neither side is perfect and both are full of self-interest, but a lot of this boils down to common sense and the future---the borrowing and spending has to stop and now is the time. We can't hand over 15%-20% of our economy to Washington's geniuses. There is no reason for that bill to be 2000 pages. Simple, effective reforms with no pork could be written in 50 pages. I'm all for regulation and fair play----but the government is not capable of making medical decisions for my family. Not now, not ever.
On housing----I've been saying all along that this "crisis" is due to the fact that Washington forced lenders to dole out money to people who are bad risks----people not capable of paying for a house in their wildest dreams. Home ownership isn't a right, but that's what some politicians tried to cram down our throats. Yes, a house should be bought to live in. Thus, if you bought a house, with a reasonable down payment---and a purchase price within your means---don't worry what the housing market does. Don't worry if there are foreclosures on your street. Just keep paying your mortgage and live in the house you bought. If you "invested" with someone else's money and can't make payments now, file for bankruptcy and move to an apartment. Don't ask me to pay for your mistake.

Tom Welch

The problem with the GOP is that they have no solutions to the complex problem of health care, so we have no alternatives to what's on the table now.

Texas, for example, has tort reform that puts limits on malpractice law suits yet Texas has one of the highest medical costs in the USA.

Let us all remember that doctors screw up a lot, I know b/c I'm a victim of incompetent medical doctor.

John Slattery

I have, thank God, medical coverage through the Veterans Administration. Last October, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and in November the doctors at the VA hospital in ALbuquerque, NM removed my prostate. My PSA count is now 0.003. If I had had to have this operation in a "regular hospital." it would have put me badly in debt. However, because I served with the USMC in Vietnam and was exposed to Agent Orange, my condition was service-connected, and at no cost to my family. Something needs to be done about health-care costs, not only for the uninsured, but for the "underinsured" as well. We are the ONLY major industrialized Western nation that does NOT provide universal health care to its citizens. Is it a right? Some say no - but I say that life and the pursuit of happiness are often impossible when you're really ill and can't afford treatment.
The AARP site has a good article on how thew rising coast of health care is affecting not just the poor, but "middle America" as well:
Read it and weep:

http://www.aarp.org/issues/dividedwefail/about_issues/the_quiet_health_insurance_crisis_of_rising_costs.html

Angelo

John: John: The AARP is an arm for the Democratic party, nothing more and nothing less. They are not neutral. I will read the link you sent, but as far as I'm concerned, it's like reading an opinion page from a far left or far right editoral newspaper. Tom: The GOP has in fact put forth some proposals to improve the current options we have for healthcare and insurance in the U.S. But let's say they didn't----we still have an alternative to the 2000 page monstrosity being debated. That alternative is to leave things the way they are, which is better than if we sign on for socialized healthcare. People from those other industrialized nations John referenced come to our country for serious healthcare if they have the means. That's because their governments have destroyed the medical establishments in those nations. Also, you mention Texas. You know why they are underwater? Same reason California is: The hospitals and doctors are treating millions of illegal immigrants and other uninsured---and that gets rolled into everyone else's costs. But before you jump on that to say "That's why we all need to be insured," I'll remind you that it's not free. One way or another, people who are working and trying to save a few dollars for their future (like me) do not want the money seized for someone else's benefit---particularly people who broke our country's laws by sneaking in and are not paying taxes----they are earning money and sending it somewhere else. I'm all for legal immigration----like my Grandparents exercised to come here. We need the hard work ethic and enthusiasm of law abiding people from all over the globe, including Asia and South America, Mexico, etc. These are some of the finest people in the world, with great families and other strong positives. But they have to announce themselves and come here legally to join in the system. There is no other rational option.

Radio Russ

Really good discussion. I wanted to add that there is one aspect of the Obama health care plan that people object to in a uniquely American way: That you have to buy health insurance or you will be heavily penalized by the IRS, or even go to jail. For the first time, the Federal government is making you buy something. This is unconstitutional as well as unprecedented.

Second on the list of things people are balking at is that none of the changes take effect until 2014, but we have to start paying for it now.

In Mark Levin's book, "Liberty and Tyranny", he discusses change versus reform. Change in this case means doing away with our current health care system and replacing it with one controlled by the federal government. Reform would be preferable in this case because reforms could be made gradually and carefully. More importantly, reforms can be undone if they prove unworkable or unfair. With Obama's strategy of change for the sake of change, there's no going back.

Angelo

Russ: And that's the whole point to pushing so hard to force this thing through---you hit the nail on the head, there's no turning back. The pragmatic approach would be to attempt to regulate and reform what we have, which is the best system in the world. It's far from perfect, but the healthcare here is second to none and socializing it will destroy it---like it has in other places. That said, let's face it: The GOP blew it during the Bush presidency. Healthcare costs and availability has been a chronic problem in our society (no pun intended) for a long time. I am lucky enough to be employed and insured---and have been my whole life. But I often think about what would happen if I lose my job---in this economy, a real possibility. I'd COBRA for a year and a half, at an enormous cost. Hopefully I'd have another job soon enough. If I started my own business, I'd have to find insurance, and I'm not getting any younger. People worry about this stuff----and for eight years (six of those years with control of house and senate), the GOP did nothing to try to reform healthcare. Now that this awful bill is being crammed down our throats, finally they are offering some ideas that should have been implemented at least five years ago. There's plenty of blame to go around, but one thing I'm certain of is that I don't want this bill to pass. They need to start fresh and come up with something more focused and less costly. Incidentally, Tom mentioned tort reform. I had my own case of questionable medical practice in my family a couple years ago. I'm now a young widower. I didn't sue, but I understand the need to keep that an option. But hopefully Tom would agree that there should be limits on how much someone can sue for. Proven financial damages---and a cap on pain and suffering.

Paul

Five Capitalist Democracies and How They Do It

Each has a health care system that delivers health care for everyone -- but with remarkable differences.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundtheworld/countries/

Angelo

Paul: Yes, our system is the most expensive and the best. The link gives blurbs about how other countries manage healthcare, but they understate the problems some of those nations have---in particular, Great Britain has a serious issue with long waits and people suffering serious terminal illnesses being turned down for service. That is a huge concern I have about trying to socialize U.S. and go with a single payer system. My wife was diagnosed with a terminal illness two years ago and she died last Septemeber. She lived reasonably well for over a year---long enough for our 3 year old to be pushing 5 years old when she died. That 15 months was priceless for my family. Three different insurance companies were involved in her treatment and for the most part, they covered everything and approved every effort a wide group of doctors and hospitals did to keep her alive. I fear that bean counters for the federal government would have denied her that extra year and a half of living. I look at how other countries deny treatment for people like her---or older people in need of hip replacements and other treatments/surgeries. I say the government can regulate and enforce basic policy, but they should not be active in deciding on treatments and approving what my doctor can do for my family. I don't trust them. And it's certain (statisically) that a large majority of Americans agree with my skepticism. When you look at how the government has failed at relatively tiny programs like cash for clunkers---and larger endeavors, like Homeland Security/TSA---it's very clear that they have no business handling healthcare. In fact, bringing the discussion back to the post, look at Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac and government failure in enabling the housing bubble. Yes, yes, yes, it WAS the Community Reinvestment Act that was the opening kickoff for this mess. Thanks Jimmy Carter. "We all need to share in the American dream of home ownership." Well, that dream for some has turned into a nightmare for the rest of us. I'm in a house that is within my means. 1974 construction----modest neighborhood. Meanwhile, people who put nothing down and are now broke are in houses that are worth nearly twice what my house is worth. Obambi wants to raise my taxes to keep them from being foreclosed on---in affect, I pay for them to live in a nicer house than my kid and I live in. Hey government: Hands off my wallet.

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