Monday, April 21, 2008

Go get 'em, girl

Elizabeth Edwards shoots back at John "Cheap Shot" McNasty on health insurance and pre-existing conditions.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pod people

I've had this column at TPM Cafe by Maggie Mahar bookmarked for a week now, trying to figure out how many good things I can say about it without going overboard.

Point number one - "It is time, I think, to face the realpolitik of health care reform."

Those of us who are intensely interested in health insurance reform and advocates for a single-payer system need to come to grips with the fact that there is no magic wand.

Even if a President Kucinich or likewise-minded individual were to be sworn into office it would certainly not bring about, by itself, a reasonable single-payer system.

I can't get exercised over any one candidate's health care proposals because it truly doesn't matter that much. A president alone cannot do it. What the candidate says during the campaign and what he/she is able to accomplish once in office rarely match.

Besides the will of the Oval Office, real reform would take political will on the part of the House and Senate AND social solidarity on the part of citizens.

The latter part - social solidarity - is the one that has had my brain churning for a week.

In the words of Ms. Mahar - "The French are willing to provide generous coverage for all because they feel that nothing is too good for another Frenchman. We, unfortunately, do not feel that way about each other."

It's true. We don't.

Is it because of our large immigrant population?


"...the truth is that many countries have a large immigrant population. For example, fifteen percent of Germany’s citizens are not German by birth, and one-third of that group is Turkish. Yet Germany’s spreads out a social safety net for everyone."

Ditto Belgium, Canada, France, Denmark the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, and Norway.

The difference between these countries and the United States is that they are predominatly middle class whereas the United States has splintered into economic pods.

It's inevitable that any society will arrange itself into 'classes', but the gulf between the ultra-wealthy and the poor in the United States has become not only an economic nightmare but a moral blot on our social conscience with those in between drifting toward the bottom.

Princeton health care economist Uwe Reinhardt takes the most pessimistic view - we will never 'pull together to create and finance a high-quality healthcare system for all Americans because we don’t identify with each other. Instead, we live in our separate pods, defined, to a large degree, by how much we earn, and what we can afford to buy.'

The ultra-rich, rich, upper middle class, lower middle class, working poor, and very poor live in their own separate neighborhoods, send their children to their own schools, attend their own churches, patronize their own businesses.

Pod people.

And the only way any pod can be heard in Washington over the din of special interests is money.

Maggie Mahar rejects the pessimistic view of "never" and promises a "Part Two".

I await it eagerly.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Sorry for the long silence - I am still alive and kicking, though after this fourth Satan-inspired round of chemo the "alive" is "just barely" and the "kicking" is more like making feeble gestures with my big toe.

Geez. Chemo is a bitch.

Anyone who has suffered through it or suffered along with a loved one can sympathize with "chemo mouth", that awful bleachy-bile taste that makes everything you try to eat or drink a disgusting mess. Getting something in my stomach - and keeping it there - is one of the main goals of my last several days.

And "chemo brain". I'm not making that up. I never claimed to be the brightest light bulb in the pack, but this is ridiculous. Writing down medication instructions - or having my reliable Mr. Andante present to hear them - is a MUST because I will forget.


Holy cow. I've spent the last several days after this fourth round either lolling on the sofa (NOT eating bon-bons) or in the bed. I can walk to the car and back, but that's it. Anything further requires a wheelchair.

It's getting a bit better every day...I'm typing this, aren't I?...but it sure is a long haul.

On the plus side, my good Dr. Nuisance says he'll now be scheduling some scans & such to monitor progress. I hope for good news soon.

***Among the many things I've meant to write about lately was this heroic bit from Should Be First Lady and Favorite Person Elizabeth Edwards:
Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of former Democratic presidential contender John Edwards, said she and John McCain have one thing in common: “Neither one of us would be covered by his health policy.”

Forget all the crap about whose health care plans is best, Obama or Clinton - any plan that includes the blood-sucking insurance companies is doomed to failure. They will fight tooth-and-nail to keep that heinous 'pre-existing conditions' garbage and make universal health care impossible for people like me.

***Who cares if the Clinton's made a gazillion bucks since 2000? So did John & Elizabeth Edwards, but as long as a candidate's heart is in the right place it's neither here nor there. See Roosevelt, Franklin Delano.

***And I totally missed the boat when it came to Women's History Month.

One of my favorite ladies of history is the estimable Mrs. Margaret Tobin Brown. Pioneer, entrepreneur, suffragette, soup-kitchen organizer and worker, and strong advocate for the unemployed, children, and women.

Mrs. Brown was one of the first women in the United States to run for political office - before women could even vote.

History wasn't through with Mrs. Brown, however. She was returning to the United States from a trip to Europe when her ship hit an iceberg.
After the ship struck the iceberg, Margaret helped load others into lifeboats and eventually was forced to board lifeboat six. She and the other women in lifeboat six worked together to row, keep spirits up, and dispel the gloom that was broadcast by the emotional and unstable Robert Hichens. However, Margaret's most significant work occurred on Carpathia, where she assisted Titanic survivors, and afterwards in New York. By the time Carpathia reached New York harbor, Margaret had helped establish the Survivor's Committee, been elected as chair, and raised almost $10,000 for destitute survivors. Margaret's language skills in French, German, and Russian were an asset, and she remained on Carpathia until all Titanic survivors had met with friends, family, or medical/emergency assistance.
The "Unsinkable Molly Brown" continued her work for human rights, literacy, and health care the rest of her life but was most annoyed when, as a woman, she was not allowed to testify before Congress regarding the Titanic disaster.

***Past time to try to eat or drink something that doesn't taste like Clorox. Wish me luck, and keep the prayers & positive thoughts coming my way.


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