We are experiencing an example of two major flaws in our “democracy.” The drastic need for a totally revised health care delivery system is deliberated and decided by a group of people, called our Congress, which by its nature is severely compromised. Greed and arrogance rule this group, not intelligence and concern for the people they supposedly represent.

Perhaps some workable program will evolve, but in the end, the insurance companies will have won in their effort to maintain the status quo, which equals unjustified profits.

President Obama can be lauded for pushing for change, but the method simply is not acceptable. This is a situation where a change needs to be made for the common good by those who are qualified to do so – without the roadblocks of our current “non-system.” We can hope for the best under the circumstances and continue to press for a more acceptable approach: a Single Payor Universal Healthcare System.

Why Obama?

The character of the Clinton machine is becoming evident as the primary race continues.  The attacks are building and now the possibility of manipulating the “superdelegates” looms on the horizon as her chances for the nomination get slimmer.  The point is, her actions now demonstrate the very reason we need a person like Barack Obama as our President.  We can hope that he will bring credible, honest leadership to replace the greed, arrogance and back-door deal making that appear to be the hallmark of this office.

Schwarzenegger vs. Health Care Reform

The results of the governor’s and selected legislators’ emphatic effort to “reform” the health care system, ABX11, was defeated in committee, thanks to those with the intelligence and good sense to see the error in this measure. Once again, the insurance industry’s attempts to control the direction of this very important issue have been thwarted.

Arnold obviously has no awareness of the the issue himself, but he should at least seek the wisdom of those who do. Simply review the program and the math: SB840 would provide universal, affordable, choose your own doctor, comprehensive coverage to all Californians and save us $320 billion over ten years in the process.

The Obama-Clinton Ticket

“It’s just a matter of common sense!”
This was heard from one of the “conservative” talk radio hosts in reference to making decisions on our country’s leadership and the measures that need to be taken to straighten things out. When thinking about the need to bring about economic stability and global respect, an Obama-Clinton ticket makes some sense.

Obama definitely has demonstrated the type of leadership we need in our president, the ability to bring hope to nation mired in “politics as usual” with its greed, elitism and behind the scenes deal-making. But Hillary Clinton has intelligence and abilities that would support a strong president.

Is this the “dream ticket” that our country can support, across all supposed boundaries of race, color, political party, gender, age, regional politics, etc.?

We’ll see…..

Ah…Those Messy Facts – Hillary Clinton’s Accusations

Where is the “Pinocchio Effect” when you need it…. Hillary’s politics of personal attack and destruction continue to take the place of rational discussion and debate. Too bad some obvious physical evidence isn’t possible when egregious lies are spoken so that they are just a wee bit more obvious.

Whatever is said in campaigns needs to be checked against the facts. This is not a time for the hidden agendas of typical politicians, but for a change to someone all Americans and the world can trust. Perhaps it is time for a woman as President. But let’s hope that the woman is a true leader.

The Tears of Hillary Clinton

In most years, the presidential election is a choice between a Democrat and a Republican. This election year is stacking up a bit differently – a choice between candidates in the Democratic Party. And within those choices an interesting sub-theme has developed: sex and color, not necessarily in that order…

With record numbers of voters going to the polls, the emergence of the “independent” vote importance and crossovers from Republicans voting for Democrat candidates, it is an interesting and exciting prospect we face.

So we note the pundit and public response to the tears shed by candidate Hillary Clinton in response to a question the Monday prior to the New Hampshire vote. The woman who asked her the question that generated the response heard ’round the world said later that she had voted for Barack Obama because she thought he was the better candidate. Other voters, however, responded that they had changed their intended vote from Obama to Clinton because of those tears.

Voters in other states now face a complex decision – voting for an obviously well qualified, courageous, honest and intelligent black male who will bring a new breath of leadership to our country or an intelligent, perhaps well-trained or campaign-weary white female who brings “politics as usual.”

Regardless of who becomes the Democratic Party candidate for President of the United States, history will replay those choice moments in New Hampshire and speculate – were they real or staged, what effect did they have on the overall election and did a few tears change the history of the world…

The Obama Factor II – Thank you, Iowa!

The Iowa caucuses are history. And an historical event they are. What the effect will be on the upcoming primaries and the population at large remains to be seen, but for now we can all feel the sense of relief that intelligence and common sense have prevailed. We can truly HOPE that our country can emerge from the depths of “politics as usual,” which translates into greed and corruption, into a new dimension of leadership. Leadership that will take us forward with pride and enthusiasm.

Barack Obama is not perfect – that would be impossible. But he has the honesty, wisdom and courage to be the leader we so much desire – and deserve.

Thank You, IOWA!

Universal Health Care – the voice of reason

Seldom, if ever, have we experienced individuals in the upper management levels of the health insurance/managed healthcare industry who speak out with the voice of reason, common sense and intelligence on the subject of “healthcare” vs. health “insurance.” Thus it was with extreme surprise and appreciation that I listened to the comments on this subject recently from Georganne Chapin, JD, MPhil, CEO of Hudson Health Plan in New York. The webcast is available at:

The text of her comments follows:
I am a health insurance and managed care executive so you may find this editorial a bit strange. I believe that the way to fix our healthcare system is to stop relying on insurance and focus instead on healthcare.
So, what’s wrong with health insurance?
Well, first, it’s temporary. This may work for auto policies, but not for human health.
Second, health insurance is mostly contingent on where you live and whom you work for. It’s easy to transfer car insurance, but not health insurance.
Finally, insurance companies make more money by minimizing pay-outs than by keeping people healthy. Human beings — who need preventive care, who have babies, who may lack living wages and job security, and who get older–find the house rules stacked against them.
Plans in Massachusetts,[1] California,[2] and soon New York[3] propose to strew the same old red tape over even more people. Members of the same family could end up with separate policies, with different benefits and different expiration dates. This will make it even harder for doctors and hospitals to figure out whom to bill, which services are covered, and – worst of all – whether coverage will last long enough to complete treatment for a sick patient.
Other developed nations have universal healthcare, not “insurance.” They give healthcare to everybody, they spend less, and they are healthier for it.[4]
But, we have an example of success in this country, too. It’s called Medicare. And while flawed, Medicare meets the most important criteria for a universal healthcare system: it’s permanent, it’s portable, and it’s simple and inexpensive to administer.
The health insurance model is flawed because it depends on people falling between the cracks after they pay their premiums and before they collect their “benefits.” Rather than insurance, providing healthcare to everyone would cost less and deliver more in the long run.
That’s my opinion. I’m Georganne Chapin, President and CEO, Hudson Health Plan.

1. Fahrenthold DA. Mass. bill requires health coverage. Washington Post. April 5, 2006;A01
2. Steinhauer J. California plan for health care would cover all. New York Times. January 9, 2007;A1
3. Holahan D, Hubert E, Schoen C. A Blueprint for Universal Health Insurance Coverage in New York. New York: United Hospital Fund and the Commonwealth Fund; December 19, 2006
4. Davis K, Schoen C, Schoenbaum SC, et al. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: An International Update on the Comparative Performance of American Health Care. New York: Commonwealth Fund; May 2007: pub. no. 1027

Bush Bashing – A Problem?

A recent newspaper article noted the flurry of “Bush Bashing,” particularly, in this case, in the form of greeting cards. Since no company will produce something that won’t sell, we can safely assume that a significant number of Americans are amused and/or disgusted enough to buy a greeting card calling Bush a clown or a moron.

While this is an interesting perspective on the collective humor quotient and popularity (negative, in this case) of a particular person, it can also be dangerous. To make fun of something or someone first of all is a form of sarcastic humor, which is not always productive, and it also diffuses the fact that Bush and company is an extremely dangerous combination in a national leadership role.

A recently released documentary, “No End In Sight,” may be of interest on this subject. One reviewer says that it is….”an exposure of the psycho-pathology of power.” (David Denby, The New Yorker, 8/6/2007)

Bush is the epitome of what a leader should not be. His actions speak very loudly that he does not have the welfare of this country in mind and he is certainly not anyone we would want to emulate or hold up as an example of exemplary human qualities.

Bush, and congress, for that matter, have completely obliterated the basic concept upon which America was built – that we would have a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

The positive side to this is that perhaps enough people will become so reviled by the current state of affairs that we will make a greater effort to effect the necessary changes to truly protect and defend our liberty and become once again an example for the rest of the world.


Michael Moore has taken a lot of heat and praise for his documentary works.  This one will be no different.  But in SICKO, Mr. Moore has taken the message up a notch.  No longer is a political party, specific politician or business leader a major focus.  Now the finger of reproach is pointed at all of us – us Americans, that is.  Because for seemingly practical and innocuous reasons, we have let the delivery of health care in our country become yet another vehicle of greed, inefficiency and basic lack of common sense.

I daresay that the average American on the street cannot even begin to fathom the depths to which our “non-system” of health care has reached.  And that same American is brainwashed into believing that any approach as rational, economically sane and compassionate as a single payer, universal health care system is ultimately “bad medicine” if not an outright communist plot.  (Communist plots are rare these days, so I thought I would start the trend again.)

To what high level must our national cost of medical care and low level of effectiveness attain before we finally will say, “Stop – there must be a better way!”

I don’t know the answer.  I’ve supported positive measures, primarily the legislation developed by Sen. Sheila Kuehl in California, SB 840 (see post below); but our notable governor, for reasons only he can know, vetoed the measure when it passed in the state legislature last year and will, no doubt, do so again this year.  Placing the issue before the California voters would only mean more wasted dollars – in the multi-millions – that would be spent by the “health plan”/insurance industry to preserve their grip on the veritable gold mine they continue to run.

One can only hope that enough intelligent people will see SICKO and take the action necessary to educate our leaders and citizenry in general and get us into the modern world of organized health care delivery for all – a right, not a privilege of working status.