Monthly Archives: September 2009

Rep. Grayson Attacks GOP “Health Plan”

Alan Grayson on the GOP Health Care Plan: “Don't Get Sick! And if You Do Get Sick, Die Quickly!”'

Rep. Grayson's remarks have been attacked by many on the right as somehow akin to Joe Wilson's (false) “you lie” shoutout during President Obama's speech. In fact, while not particularly civil, they do capture the essence of the GOP (and far-right-Democratic) opposition to health care reform: it's fine to leave some Americans without health insurance, and if they get sick, it's mostly their problem. We'll do emergency room care for them, but nothing long-term, and certainly nothing preventative.

That said, Grayson's remarks can be called inaccurate in one respect — there really isn't a Republican health proposal on the table at all, just a bunch of bills each with a small number of sponsors, none endorsed by the Republican leadership.

To those who would attack Rep. Grayson for his unusually blunt talk, I would ask, “Do any of the leading Republican plans ensure basic health care for all Americans?” And, where were you when Republicans were using similarly hot rhetoric?

Grayson is certainly not backing down: “47,000 Americans die every year for lack of health insurance. And by the way, that's 20 or so since we started talking about it. That's over a hundred a day.”

Posted in Health Care | 7 Comments

Florida’s Senator Nelson Votes Against the Full Public Option

Nelson votes against public option. (To be fair, Nelson voted against the full-blooded public option proposed by Sen. Rockefeller . Sen. Nelson said he would support a watered-down version being pushed by Sen. Schumer. Not that this will pass the Finance Committee either….)

Glorious moments from Sen. Nelson's career:

Posted in Health Care | 1 Comment

Baucus Bill Explained

The Truth About the Baucus Healthcare Bill

Well, it's actually worse than the video makes it seem, but it's a start.

Posted in Health Care | 1 Comment

Most Terrifying Obama Pix Ever

Via Open Left, some truly terrifying photos of President Obama:

Barack Obama's amazingly consistent smile

Posted in Politics: US | 3 Comments

The Wasteland

Tun Yin, Revenge of TV lovers! directs me to True Tales of Conversational Vengeance in which a writer for the Simpsons verbally dismembers a TV-hating snob.

As a TV-non-owner for over 20 years, a streak that ended only a bit over a year ago, my sympathies are mixed here. But I sure enjoyed watching that UM-FSU game with our giant projector. Football is actually fun to watch in giant HD. (Although it's less fun when the Canes get slaughtered.)

Posted in Kultcha | Leave a comment

Is the Miami Herald Useless?

It looks like a good article — Hialeah and Weston: A tale of two cities, one health crisis but don't look too carefully.

The key facts reported appear in paragraphs four and five (after a back-in lead humanizing the statistics):

More than half of Hialeah adults aged 18-64 — 53.1 percent — lack health insurance, according to Census data released last week. That's almost three times the national average and the highest rate in South Florida. The lowest — 13.8 percent — is in Weston.

That disparity “could certainly be a poster child about the need for reform,'' says Robert Berenson, a physician who is a health policy expert at the Urban Institute.

So far, so good. But then the Herald chickens out in paragraph six.

The congressmen for the two cities — Republican Lincoln Diaz-Balart for Hialeah and Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz for Weston — agree reform is needed, but have completely different ideas on what should be done.

And the we don't learn a thing about what they (or others) think should be done…until paragraphs 23-26, the final graphs of the article:

In an e-mail to The Miami Herald, Diaz-Balart wrote that something needed to be done, in particular to help small businesses. He proposes allowing them to “to pool together to negotiate and purchase health insurance, across state lines,'' which should drop premium prices through leveraged buying and increased competition.

“Individuals who are self-employed should receive tax credits to help them purchase health insurance'' across state lines, the Republican wrote.

Wasserman Schultz sent an e-mail saying the contrast between the cities “show clearly the need for health insurance reform.'' She strongly supports a public option and strict controls on private insurers so that they can't reject applicants for preexisting conditions. She also advocates subsidies for people who can't afford coverage.

“Whether it is 13 percent or 53 percent, Americans need to have the stability and security that come from having quality, affordable, health insurance choices,'' the Democrat wrote.

Yes, that's it. Not one word on whether either or both of those plans would address the problem. Hint: Diaz-Ballard's “plan” is not going to do much about small businesses that feel they can't afford to give people health care or the low wages that make it unaffordable plus going accross state lines will weaken enforcement efforts. Waserman Schultz's “subsidies” might, depending how big they are and how they are targeted, but it's a fairly meaningless idea unless it is connected to a realistic proposal now on the Hill — is it? And if not, what if anything does Waserman Schultz, a power in the Democratic Party, intend to do about it?

In short, the Herald ducked everything complicated, important, and interesting about this story. It failed to help readers figure out which if any of their representatives were actively engaged in doing anything meaningful about the problem. And this on one of the leading political controversies in the country, one which the House will be voting on soon.

And it's not as if the Herald can't find or is afraid to quote experts — they put one in paragraph five (quoted above) after all.

Epic fail.

I am as loyal a reader and lover of newspapers as you will find anywhere, but more and more wonder why I keep my Herald subscription as the paper gets thinner and duller.

I used to say I got the Herald for the local news, but we've now had not one, but two days of opinion columns and one news story telling us that the recent arrests of politicians in Broward were no surprise. Well, it certainly was a surprise to readers of the Herald, as I doubt there was ever a hint of this in its pages…

Comments closed due to attack robots

Posted in Health Care, The Media | 7 Comments

The Moral High Ground

On NPR this morning they were noting sarcastically that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had said members of his security forces “may lose their jobs” if they are found guilty of torturing election protesters. The implication was “that's all?”.

And I'm thinking — have we done as much here?

Posted in Torture | 14 Comments