Archive for the ‘Health care’ Category

Republican legislators abandon any pretense of to ethical behavior: House pretends to repeal Obamacare for the 33rd time, Senate renounces its Constitutional role to advise and consent

July 12, 2012

House and Senate Republicans have forfeited any claim to ethical behavior. They were sent to Washington to do the people’s business; they make a mockery of their oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States,” and to “well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office.”

Congressional Republicans are doing anything BUT “well and faithfully discharging the duties” of their offices. They have now voted 33 times to repeal or defund all or part of the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”). Yesterday every one of the House Republicans voted for repeal, along with five Democrats. Before any of the hours of sham debate and the wall-to-wall press and TV coverage, every last one of them knew that their vote would have no effect. None. Nowhere. Never.

For to repeal the ACA, they well knew, after the bill passes the House it would have to be passed by the Democratic-controlled Senate, then signed by President Obama. Did any of them expect that the President would sign repeal of his (for better or worse) signature legislation?

 Meanwhile, the Senate Republicans are keeping pace with their House colleagues’ renunciation of their Constitutional oath. (more…)

Suddenly, a blizzard of truth from Republicans. Sam Goldwyn Awards* for all three.

February 17, 2011

 

Everybody in politics knows that federal spending is unsustainable: ending earmarks, eliminating waste, cutting non-defense discretionary spending won’t make more difference than baling out a sinking ship with a teacup. Drastic action is called for. Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security have to be cut back or they’ll bankrupt the nation.

But our political leaders run from the problem. In the debate last year over health care reform, Republicans accused proponents of wanting to ration health care, and the Democrats, instead of saying, “Yes, it’s rationed now and we’ll have to ration it a lot more,” denied and denied. “Not us!”

Now come three prominent Republicans to speak truth to power—to the voting public.

Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) grabbed the third rail of American politics when he told an American Enterprise Institute audience, “You’re going to have to raise the retirement age for Social Security. Oh, I just said it. And I’m still standing here. I did not vaporize into the carpeting, and I said it.”

Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN) was even bolder—and more comprehensive—in a thoughtful speech to CPAC ( the Conservative Political Action Conference) in Washington. He told the right wing audience that his own party hasn’t tackled the problem, dealing instead with trifles: “Talking much more about [earmarks], or ‘waste, fraud, and abuse,’ trivializes what needs to be done and misleads our fellow citizens to believe that easy answers are available.” Instead Daniels proposed cutting defense, and radically changing Social Security and Medicare (more…)

Wake Forest baseball coach donates a kidney to a freshman player

February 8, 2011

 

If not me, who? If not now, when? That’s one of the ethical guides laid down by Hillel, the great Jewish scholar of the first century B.C.E. His other guide is his expression of the “Golden Rule.”

Hillel’s guidelines are aspirations of ethical people in all cultures, but they are aspired to more than adhered to.

But when Wake Forest baseball coach Tom Walter learned that freshman outfielder Kevin Jordan would likely die without a kidney transplant, and that Jordan’s family didn’t qualify as a compatible match, Walter got tested and found out last week that he was a match: his kidney might work for Jordan.

Yesterday at the Emory Transplant Center in Atlanta, Walter had one of his kidneys removed and donated to Jordan.

Both are recuperating nicely. Walter will be running in two months, and the docs have told Jordan that he could start to swing a bat in six to eight weeks.

Everybody thinks it was a big deal, but Walter demurs.

“I would do anything to help any one of my players and any one of my family members. Anything that I could do in my power that I could do (more…)

Which Constitution do you like: the real one or the edited one?

January 9, 2011

 

The new Republican leadership of the House of Representatives opened the new 112th Congress with a reading of the Constitution that they are sworn to support and defend. Some Members on both sides tried to make political hay out of the action, but for the most part it was a bipartisan effort that served to remind all of what they were there for.

But purposely the document they read wasn’t the Constitution of the United States, but an edited, modernized version. The original, housed in the Archives of the United States, spells out the method for apportioning congressional seats in Article I, Section 2:

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

“Three fifths of all other Persons.” Those “other Persons” meant slaves. The formula was changed by the fourteenth amendment, which ended slavery and, eliminated the three-fifths language.

Why would anybody bowdlerize the Constitution? Simple—it’s to maintain the fiction that the founders had perfect foresight, and that their language—or their omissions—must be followed slavishly for all time. And so, for example, since they didn’t allow the federal government to require Americans to buy health insurance, then the health care law must be unconstitutional. And so, for another example (more…)

Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” introduces us to four 9/11 first responders to build support for the stalled Zadroga health benefits bill

December 18, 2010

Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show is very funny, but not Thursday night. He had four guests, 9/11 first responders from New York’s police and firefighters, explaining their cancers and other diseases caused by continuous breathing of toxic fumes for months as they labored heroically first to rescue survivors, then to recover remains of the 2750 who died at the World Trade Center.

Senate Republicans are filibustering the Zadroga bill, which would provide for the health coverage that most of the men have lost. These Senators, after having wrapped themselves in the flag and praised the unimaginable courage and dedication of these heroes,  are now refusing to help them alleviate the suffering that’s the direct result of their heroism. And now the Senators are raging at the possibility that some of their weeks of Christmas vacation will be interrupted by such trivia as first responders health benefits or the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

Watch the seven minutes of the show here. You won’t get many laughs, but you’ll see some of America’s greatness and smallness, and you’ll change your opinions of all involved—Stewart, the responders, the Republican Senators, and the news media who have abandoned this issue to The Daily Show

One-term Obama can bring effective and ethical government to Washington

December 2, 2010

Barack Obama ran for President on a platform of hope and change. While he’s delivered a lot of big things—saving the economy, delivering near-universal health care, beginning to restore America’s reputation abroad, and beginning an end to two wars—he hasn’t begun to change the ways of Washington. His latest attempt lasted only a few hours, before the Republican leadership announced its determination to stop everything unless it got what it demanded in the form of a $700 billion tax break for the rich and super rich.

So what’s an ethical President to do when his attempts at compromise and progress are blocked by House minority leader John Boehner and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who announced on the eve of the 2010 election, ‘The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term President.”

More important than the managing the budget crisis, more important than ratifying the START Treaty with Russia, more important than reducing the obscenely high unemployment rate, even more important than tax relief for billionaires!

The answer for the President is staring right at him: give McConnell what he wants most of all, in return for the change Obama promised. Here’s how this grand compromise might work: Obama promises not to run for re-election. In exchange McConnell and Boehner promise to work with the Democratic leadership to achieve:

  • Long-term deficit reduction equivalent to that in the report of the bipartisan deficit commission
  • An economic package, including extension of the Bush tax cuts for (more…)

Who says doctors and dentists are venal? Not mine. Not Abdi Sameni.

June 15, 2010

They say that our fee-for-service system of medical and dental insurance is crushingly expensive because doctors and dentists are paid for the treatments they deliver. So they treat you in overly expensive ways, and earn more at your expense and your insurance company’s.

Not my experience. I just got back from a visit to my West Los Angeles dentist, Dr. Abdolreza “Abdi” Sameni. For several years he’s been warning me that a long-ago filled tooth would eventually need an expensive onlay, costing about $2000. “But no need to do it yet,” he had told me. “It could be years before you have to do it.”

A few weeks ago he told me it was time, and the time was today. I was in the chair, anaesthetized, and he was doing the final examination of the area to be repaired, when he said, “I think we can get by very well with just a filling.” Great news—it would save me $2000 and several more hours in the dental chair.

They say that ethics is how you behave when nobody is looking. Abdi, in addition to his skill and attention to his patients’ comfort, is certainly ethical. There’s no way I could have known anything was amiss had he just gone ahead with the onlay we had agreed on. But he knew it wasn’t needed, and he saved me $2000, right out of his pocket.

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